Assessment of dyspnoea

Last reviewed: 6 Nov 2022
Last updated: 21 Jun 2022

Summary

Differentials

Common

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia (bacterial, viral, fungal, tuberculous)
  • Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  • Croup
  • Acute coronary syndrome (ACS)
  • Stable angina
  • Arrhythmias
  • Interstitial lung disease
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Non-infective pneumonitis (eosinophilic, radiation, aspiration, hypersensitivity pneumonitis)
  • Acute bronchitis
  • Laryngitis
  • Pulmonary embolism (thrombotic, air, amniotic fluid, tumour)
  • Pleural effusion
  • Pleuritis
  • Anaemia
  • Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Ascites
  • Shock
  • Pulmonary tumours
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Normal ageing, deconditioning, and obesity
Full details

Uncommon

  • Aortic dissection
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Pulmonary contusion
  • Epiglottitis
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Angio-oedema
  • Foreign body aspiration
  • Tracheobronchial tumours (benign or malignant)
  • Retrosternal goitre
  • Vocal cord dysfunction
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Hepatopulmonary syndrome
  • Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations
  • Pulmonary veno-occlusive disease
  • Mesothelioma
  • Pneumothorax and pneumomediastinum
  • Haemothorax
  • Acquired valvular heart disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Cardiac drugs
  • Myocardial disease (cardiomyopathy, myocarditis)
  • Pericardial disease
  • Superior vena cava syndrome
  • Methaemoglobinaemia and carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Tetanus
  • Botulism
  • Phrenic nerve paralysis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Polio and other acute viral anterior horn infections
  • Guillain-Barre syndrome
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Respiratory muscle deficiency
  • Paraneoplastic myasthenic syndrome
  • Thyroid disease
  • Cushing syndrome
  • Phaeochromocytoma
  • Kyphoscoliosis and pectus excavatum
  • Diphtheria
Full details

Contributors

Authors

Tomasz J. Kuzniar, MD, PhD
Tomasz J. Kuzniar

Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine

University of Chicago

Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine

NorthShore University HealthSystem

Evanston

IL

Disclosures

TJK is chair of the Education Committee of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and oversees the development of several educational products for the AASM. TJK is co-author of, and receives royalties from, two topics on sleep apnoea for UpToDate.

Acknowledgements

Dr Tomasz J. Kuzniar would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Kamilla Kasibowska-Kuzniar and Dr Kaiser G. Lim, previous contributors to this monograph.

Disclosures

KK-K and KGL declare that they have no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

Nicholas Maskell, MD

Senior Lecturer and Consultant Physician

North Bristol Lung Centre

Southmead Hospital

Bristol

UK

Disclosures

NM declares that he has no competing interests.

Najib Rahman, BM, BCh, MA (Oxon), MRCP (UK)

MRC Training Fellow and Specialist Registrar, Respiratory Medicine

Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine

Churchill Hospital

Oxford

UK

Disclosures

NR declares that he has no competing interests.

Jonathan P. Parsons, MD

Assistant Professor

Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

Ohio State University Medical Center

Columbus

OH

Disclosures

JPP declares that he has no competing interests.

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