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Shortness Of Breath Evaluation

Mt Heart Vernon Institute, Ltd

M. Haseeb, MD, FACC

Cardiologist located in Mt Vernon, IL

There can be many cardiac reasons for SOB but the most important one to know is if this could be due to blockage in the arteries of the heart / represent angina. Other possible cardiac causes include Heart Failure, Heart Valve Disease, inflammation of the outer covering of the heart called Pericardium along with other causes resulting from Heart Rhythm disturbance or combination of more than one causes. After History taking Physical examination and EKG, further evaluation is determined by putting the data together as each patient may have different reasons.

Shortness Of Breath

Shortness Of Breath

What is Shortness of breath?

Shortness of breath is a feeling that you can’t get enough air into your lungs. You might experience:

  • Chest tightness

  • Difficulty breathing

  • A feeling of suffocation

Shortness of breath can be a frightening experience. It may indicate a serious heart problem requiring immediate medical attention.

What causes shortness of breath?

Shortness of breath MOST OFTEN is a HEART RELATED PROBLEM, and this should be evaluated very carefully. Other conditions that can result in SOB include:

  • Obesity

  • Being at higher altitudes

  • Strenuous exercise

  • Extreme temperatures

  • Pneumonia

  • Asthma or allergies

  • COPD

  • Other lung disorders

  • Smoking

  • A panic attack

How is shortness of breath evaluated?

The workup is similar to the work up of a patient suspected to have heart failure. This includes a good history, Physical Examination, a Chest X-ray and EKG. Other ancillary work up that helps determine the cause and lay out a plan for management may include Blood test, Echocardiogram, stress test, Coronary angiogram, etc.

What is the treatment for shortness of breath?

A personalized treatment plan is created for shortness of breath based on what’s causing your symptoms. If you have a heart or blood vessel disorder, the following might be recommended:

  • Lifestyle changes, including healthy eating, exercise, and stress reduction

  • Heart or blood pressure-lowering medications

  • Surgical procedures

  • External counterpulsation (ECP) WHAT IS ECP: This noninvasive treatment option is for patients who are on medical therapy for Coronary artery disease and are still symptomatic. These patients may be complaining of limited exertion capacity, getting tired and fatigued easily, getting short of breath easily, have frequent Chest pain or have become Couch potatoes. Such patients, if they are not good candidates for stents or bypass surgery or do not want to undergo any further invasive procedures, ECP is the last hope of ray for them. This treatment involves pushing blood from the lower half of the body towards the heart by External mechanical compression of the muscles of the lower extremities. With this treatment, over a period of time, the heart can grow alternate channels of blood flow to provide more blood to the areas of the heart muscle that were previously not getting enough blood. As a result, more than 70 % of patients notice an improvement in their symptoms and they start enjoying their life again!

Featured Services

Chest pain

Shortness of breath

Heart Failure


Stress testing

Heart Disease

Diabetes and Heart Disease

ECP (external Counterpulsation

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