Principles of management

1. O2 therapy to maintain SaO2 (ideally >90-95%)

2. Correct abnormality where possible

3. Support therapy until recovery

■ mechanical, e.g. positive pressure ventilation, CPAP

■ pharmacological treatment, e.g. bronchodilators, vasodilators

4. Relieve anxiety

A psychiatric cause of dyspnoea is only made after exclusion of other treatable causes. Dual co-existing pathologies should be considered, e.g. chest infection and hypovolaemia.

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