Dyspnoea: Focus on Heart Failure

  • Lynne Millar
  • Sanjay Sharma


The American Thoracic Society defines dyspnoea as ‘a term used to characterize a subjective experience of breathing discomfort that is comprised of qualitatively distinct sensations that vary in intensity. The experience derives from interactions among multiple physiological, psychological, social, and environmental factors, and may induce secondary physiological and behavioural responses’. This in-depth definition infers that breathlessness is a complex entity, which can be caused by many conditions. The majority of conditions presenting with breathlessness are respiratory or cardiac in origin (Fig. 2.1). Comprehensive discussion of all of these conditions is beyond the scope of this chapter, which negotiates the clinical approach to a patient presenting with breathlessness with a primary focus on the management of chronic heart failure.


Dyspnoea Breathlessness Heart Failure Systolic Function Diastolic Function Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction Heart Failure with Reduced Ejection Fraction 

Further Reading

  1. ESC Guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic heart failure 2012. Eur Heart J. 2012;33:1787–847.Google Scholar
  2. 2013 ESC guidelines on cardiac pacing and cardiac resynchronization therapy. Eur Heart J. 2013;34:2281–329.Google Scholar

Online Resources from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cardiovascular Sciences Research Centre, Cardiovascular and Cell Sciences Research InstituteSt George’s University of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations