Author | Idelle M. Weisman, MD


Evaluating dyspnea: A practical approach

January 01, 2006

Abstract: Shortness of breath is a common complaint associated with a number of conditions. Although the results of the history and physical examination, chest radiography, and spirometry frequently identify the diagnosis, dyspnea that remains unexplained after the initial evaluation can be problematic. A stepwise approach that focuses further testing on the most likely diagnoses is most effective in younger patients. Early bronchoprovocation challenge testing is warranted in younger patients because of the high prevalence of asthma in this population. Older patients require more complete evaluation because of their increased risk of multiple cardiopulmonary abnormalities. For patients who have multiple contributing factors or no clear diagnosis, cardiopulmonary exercise testing can help prioritize treatment and focus further evaluation. (J Respir Dis. 2006;27(1):10-24)