Points & Pearls: Emergency department management of dyspnea in the dying patient

Ashley Shreves, Trevor R. Pour, Nachi Gupta, Jeffrey Nusbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Dyspnea is one of the most distressing symptoms experienced by dying patients, and it is a common reason for such patients to seek care in the emergency department. Many underlying disease states and acute illnesses cause shortness of breath at the end of life, and management tends to be symptomatic rather than diagnostic, particularly in those for whom comfort is the most important goal. Opioids are the most effective and widely studied agents available for palliation of dyspnea in this population, while adjuvant therapies such as oxygen, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation, and hand-held fans may also be used. Benzodiazepines may also be helpful in select patients. The early involvement of palliative medicine specialists and/or hospice services for dying patients can facilitate optimal symptom management and transitions of care. [Points & Pearls is a digest of Emergency Medicine Practice.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-2
Number of pages2
JournalEmergency medicine practice
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2018


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