What Is Orthopnea?

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By elizabeth
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Reviewed: dr. vanta
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  • 1. Vaskar Mukerji: 'Dyspnea, Orthopnea, and Paroxysmal Nocturnal Dyspnea.' Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd Edition. 1990, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK213/
  • 2. 'Pulmonary edema.' Mayo Clinic, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pulmonary-edema/symptoms-causes/syc-20377009
  • 3. Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC; Martin J. Gabica, MD; E. Gregory Thompson, MD; Adam Husney, MD; Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC: 'Heart Failure Symptoms.' UMHS Michigan Medicine, August 31, 2020, https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tx4082abc
  • 4. Biykem Bozkurt; Douglas L. Mann: 'Shortness of Breath.' AHA Journals, July 15, 2003, https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.CIR.0000075956.36340.78
  • 5. Cara Martinez: 'Shortness of Breath: When to See Your Doctor.' Cedars-Sinai, September 30, 2019, https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/shortness-of-breath.html
  • 6. 'Heart Failure: Risk Factors.' University Health Care System, https://www.universityhealth.org/heart-failure/risk-factors/
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3. Orthopnea and Heart Failure

Orthopnea is frequently a sign of progressive heart disease. It’s one of the main symptoms of heart failure.3Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC; Martin J. Gabica, MD; E. Gregory Thompson, MD; Adam Husney, MD; Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC: ‘Heart Failure Symptoms.’ UMHS Michigan Medicine, August 31, 2020, https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tx4082abc Other common signs include excessive fatigue, fluid retention, and swelling of the feet, legs and ankles.4Biykem Bozkurt; Douglas L. Mann: ‘Shortness of Breath.’ AHA Journals, July 15, 2003, https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/01.CIR.0000075956.36340.78

When these symptoms accompany orthopnea, the risks of heart failure are higher. The heart may be damaged, making it too weak to pump blood effectively when in the recumbent position. A cardiologist can help diagnose and treat the cause.

Orthopnea

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