Pulmonary Disease

Alveolar Filling Processes

Atelectasis (see Atelectasis, [[Atelectasis]])

  • Obstructive Atelectasis
  • Non-Obstructive Atelectasis

Interstitial Lung Disease (see Interstitial Lung Disease-Etiology, [[Interstitial Lung Disease-Etiology]])

  • General Comments: mechanism involves increased work of breathing and stimulation of pulmonary receptors
  • Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis (HP) (see Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, [[Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis]])
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) (see Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, [[Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis]])

Neuromuscular Disease

Obstructive Lung Disease (see Obstructive Lung Disease, [[Obstructive Lung Disease]])

  • General Comments: mechanism involves increased resistive load (from airway obstruction) and increased elastic load (from hyperinflation) -> increased work of breathing
  • Upper Airway Obstruction (see Obstructive Lung Disease, [[Obstructive Lung Disease]])
  • Tracheobronchial Airway Obstruction (see Obstructive Lung Disease, [[Obstructive Lung Disease]])
  • Other Airway Obstruction

Pleural/Chest Wall Disease

Pulmonary Vascular Disease

Drug/Toxin-Induced Lung Disease


  • Air Embolism (see Air Embolism, [[Air Embolism]])
  • Hypoxemia of Any Etiology (see Hypoxemia, [[Hypoxemia]])
  • Inadvertent Nasogastric (NG) Tube Placement Into Lung (see Nasogastric Tube, [[Nasogastric Tube]])

Cardiac Disease


Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) (see Coronary Artery Disease, [[Coronary Artery Disease]])

  • General Comments: flow-limiting coronary lesions limit myocardial oxygen delivery and may result in exertional dyspnea

Intracardiac Shunt

  • Ruptured Sinus of Valsalva Aneurysm (see Sinus of Valsalva Aneurysm, [[Sinus of Valsalva Aneurysm]]): dyspnea is the most common complaint

Low Cardiac Output State

Pericardial Disease

Valvular Heart Disease

Gastrointestinal Disease

  • Abdominal Compartment Syndrome (see Abdominal Compartment Syndrome, [[Abdominal Compartment Syndrome]])
  • Ascites (see Ascites, [[Ascites]])
  • Esophageal Perforation (see Esophageal Perforation, [[Esophageal Perforation]])
  • Pregnancy (see Pregnancy, [[Pregnancy]])
    • Dyspnea is common in pregnancy (due to progesterone secreted by placenta)
    • However, other causes of dyspnea which occur during pregnancy should not be discounted

Hematologic Disease

  • Anemia (see Anemia, [[Anemia]]): typically, dyspnea occurs only with severe anemia (although may occur with less severe anemia in patients with pre-existing lung or cardiac disease)
  • Hemoglobinopathy: due to decreased oxygen unloading at tissues
  • Leukostasis (see Leukostasis, [[Leukostasis]])

Psychiatric Disease

  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Hyperventilation Disorder
  • Panic Attack
  • Psychogenic Dyspnea (see Psychogenic Dyspnea, [[Psychogenic Dyspnea]])



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