Definitions for orthopnea
This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word orthopnea
form of dyspnea in which the person can breathe comfortably only when standing or sitting erect; associated with asthma and emphysema and angina pectoris
Orthopnea or orthopnoea is shortness of breath which occurs when lying flat, causing the person to have to sleep propped up in bed or sitting in a chair. It is the opposite of platypnea. From Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 17th ed., page 1446: "Orthopnea is usually a later manifestation of heart failure than is exertional dyspnea. It results from the redistribution of fluid from the splanchnic circulation and lower extremities into the central circulation during recumbency, with a resultant increase in pulmonary capillary pressure. Nocturnal cough is a frequent manifestation of this process and a frequently overlooked symptom of HF. Orthopnea is generally relieved by sitting upright or by sleeping with additional pillows. Although orthopnea is a relatively specific symptom of HF, it may occur in patients with abdominal obesity or ascites and in patients with pulmonary disease whose lung mechanics favor an upright posture." It is commonly measured according to the number of pillows needed to prop the patient up to enable breathing.
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