Chest retractions are a sucking in of the skin in between or around
the bones of the chest when inhaling. Retractions may occur in several areas of
the chest and are a sign of increased use of the chest muscles for breathing.
This usually is a sign of difficulty breathing.
As breathing becomes more difficult, areas of the chest where
retractions can be seen increase.
When asthma symptoms are in high gear and the wheezing and coughing sets in, it's the inhaler to the rescue -- the rescue inhaler, to be exact. If you have asthma, your rescue inhaler should be among the first things you reach for when you leave the house, along with your wallet and car keys.
How do rescue inhalers work, and why are they such a crucial part of managing asthma? WebMD consulted the experts to learn more about rescue inhalers, and the important role they play in asthma treatment.
Mild difficulty breathing may cause retraction in
the belly, just below the rib cage (subcostal) and at the bottom of the
Moderate difficulty breathing may cause
retraction in the same areas of the chest and belly as mild difficulty
breathing, but now retraction between the ribs (intercostal retractions) is
Severe difficulty breathing may cause retraction in
the same of the areas of the chest and belly as mild and moderate difficulty
breathing, but now retraction in the neck, just above the collarbone
(supraclavicular) or just above the breastbone (suprasternal), is also
Primary Medical Reviewer
David Messenger, MD
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
February 25, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 25, 2010
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