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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes shortness of breath while lying down?

Answered by
Dr.
Dr. Meriton Siqeca

Cardiologist

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 773 Questions

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Posted on Thu, 2 Jun 2016 in Hypertension and Heart Disease
Question: I know some cardiac conditions cause shortness of breath when lying down. Do any cardiac conditions that cause shortness of breath with activity resolve symotoms when lying down?
doctor
Answered by Dr. Meriton Siqeca 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Non-specific for cardiac conditions

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thank you for your question. I went through your query. Welcome to HCM.

Well, of course, there are several physiological and pathological states that cause shortness of breath while exercising or completing everyday activities, which goes away when one lies down. Exercise and physically stressed system can cause this. ischemic heart disease, obstruction of the airway, various physiological states that increase the demand on the heart, such as anaemia or pregnancy, psychological stress, flush of adrenalin in the circulation accompanies with increased demand on the heart. Basically, all of these can cause shortness of breath while exercising, which is withdrawn when one is at rest or lying down. Now, my answer is merely an answer to your direct question, while I am not assuming that you have any of these entities.

I hope to have been of help. I am happy to help, if you have follow-up questions.

Best regards,
Dr. Meriton
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Follow up: Dr. Meriton Siqeca 10 hours later
Well I was wondering if something like a left to right (no right to left) cardiac shunt or exercise induced pulmonary hypertension could cause this. For instance my heart rate increases rapidly when going up 2-3 flights of stairs or go up a slight incline. When I lay down it rapidly decreases. I have listened to my heart after going up stairs and it goes up high and has a gallop and swooshing sound. When I lay down it almost has a slight pause and returns to normal suddenly (not gradually). It is very bizarre. At times I get short of breath with simple activities and feel better when I lay flat. I had an echo and all it said was a minimal left to right shunt (rest of ECHO normal). No right to left on a bubble study. Stress test ok except for a flat blood pressure response.
doctor
Answered by Dr. Meriton Siqeca 8 hours later
Brief Answer:
A test for the heart beat

Detailed Answer:
Welcome back and hi again.

No, this does not sound like a pulmonary hypertension, nor a slight left-to-right shunt may cause this. There is a possibility, however, that a minor communication exists between left and right chambers of the heart, which, most of times, go without clinical significance during whole life. Everything more wrong, that would explain your symptoma, would be elicited in the echo cardiogram you have undergone. As for the inclining heart beat, as you refer, although referring to your age I think that there is nothing to worry about, I would recommend you a 24-hour Holter heart rhythm monitor and also advice you to trigger these episodes, so the monitor can register them, and afterwards they can be read by your physician and understand what are we exactly dealing with.

I hope my follow-up answer is helpful to you. If you do not have follow-up questions, close the discussion and rate the answer.

Regards,
Dr. Meriton
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Raju A.T
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