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Emergency Medical Minute


Mar 6, 2019

Author: Aaron Lessen, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • Dyspnea can occur in up to 50% of intubated patients
  • Dyspnea is associated with prolonged mechanical intubation
  • Often goes undiagnosed as these patients have difficulty communicating
  • Expert opinion on reducing sensation of dyspnea
    • Reduce stimulation of respiratory drive like fever and acidosis
    • Give bronchodilators for patients with wheezing
    • Optimize the ventilator settings
    • Use medications for comfort (i.e. opioids, benzodiazepines)


Decavèle M, Similowski T, Demoule A. Detection and management of dyspnea in mechanically ventilated patients. Curr Opin Crit Care. 2019 Feb;25(1):86-94. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000574. PubMed PMID: 30531366.

Summarized by Travis Barlock, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD