Shortness of breath in cardiac asthma (paroxysmal nocturnal shortness of breath)


Shortness of breath in cardiac asthma is a colloquial term for a disease whose correct medical name is paroxysmal nocturnal shortness of breath. The disease is caused by a sudden weakening of the left ventricle of the heart with normal or sometimes excessive function of the right ventricle; this, as a consequence, leads to pulmonary hyperemia. Attacks of this type of shortness of breath occur in people suffering from various heart diseases, such as myocarditis, heart defects, coronary insufficiency. Shortness of breath usually occurs at night.


Shortness of breath in cardiac asthma otherwise, cardiac asthma, which is characterized by the occurrence of shortness of breath due to chronic insufficiency of the left ventricle of the heart. This kind of ailments can appear, especially at night, during sleep. Then it comes to waking the patient, who takes a sitting or standing position, so that the shortness of breath disappears after about 30 minutes. Shortness of breath in cardiac asthma may be accompanied by poor exercise tolerance, dry cough or increased sweating.


To understand the mechanism of dyspnea in cardiac asthma, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the rules of blood circulation in the body. It is worth knowing that blood circulation takes place in a closed system, or rather:


in the bloodstream large (systemic) – here utlenowana blood leaves the left ventricle of the heart in the aorta, and then penetrates into selected organs and tissues, supplying them with oxygen. At the end, the blood with a small amount of oxygen returns through the veins to the right atrium of the heart, from which it enters the right ventricle;
in the bloodstream in the small (pulmonary) – blood enters from the right ventricle of the heart, the pulmonary trunk, from which it enters the lungs and alveoli, where it will utlenowana. The pulmonary vein system enters the left atrium and the left ventricle of the heart.

Causes of shortness of breath in asthma

Shortness of breath appeared in the insufficiency of the left ventricle of the heart there is stagnation of blood in the circulation of the lung. Then there is a congestion of the lungs, because the poorly functioning left ventricle of the heart can not pump all the blood that enters it from the pulmonary circulation. It is important to note-failure of one ventricle may be accompanied by failure of the other.

At the time when the patient lies there appears less action of gravity, which makes a certain amount of blood coming from the internal organs and lower extremities rushes to the chest. The vital capacity of the lungs, occurs in about 25% reduction.

Among the other causes affecting the occurrence of shortness of breath in asthma, change:

  • interstitial lung diseases,
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,
  • sometimes asthma,
  • bronchoectatic disease,
  • obstructive sleep apnea,
  • poorly tolerated physical activity,
  • lying position, where the muscles work worse.


The patient usually wakes up from sleep with a feeling of severe shortness of breath, anxiety and General weakness and fear of suffocation. Then he sits on the bed and leans on his hands or also goes to the window to get a breath of fresh air. The patient’s breathing increases sharply, and sometimes there is pain in the heart area. The patient is pale, screaming, in a cold sweat. Sometimes there is a small cyanosis. The choking fit usually lasts 20-40 minutes and often spontaneously passes.

Nevocellular failure associated with stagnation in the pulmonary circulation, appears advanced:

  • dry cough,
  • expectoration (sometimes) of pink sputum, which may indicate pulmonary edema, that is, a life-threatening condition of the patient,
  • the presence of cracks and whistles over the pulmonary fields (during auscultation study),
  • obfuscation,
  • the pale skin of the extremities,
  • the cold skin of the extremities,
  • less exercise tolerance.

Kommentieren Sie den Artikel

Bitte geben Sie Ihren Kommentar ein!
Bitte geben Sie hier Ihren Namen ein