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What are treatments for severe shortness of breath from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or heart failure?

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If your doctor can’t tell which condition causes your shortness of breath, he’ll probably treat both together.

Treatments for COPD focus on your lungs and your airways, the branching network of tubes inside the lungs. The main treatments for COPD are bronchodilators, which are inhaled medicines that help open the airways.

Heart failure treatments curb the workload on your heart and help prevent unhealthy growth of heart muscle. Several types of medicines do this.

If you have severe shortness of breath from COPD and heart failure, you may get other treatments, as well:

If you have either condition and smoke, quitting should be a top priority for your health.

If you have both COPD and heart failure, a team of doctors will probably treat you, including a primary care physician, a cardiologist, and a pulmonologist (a doctor specializing in lung conditions).

  • Corticosteroids, such as prednisone or methylprednisolone (Solu-Medrol), which can improve breathing in people with COPD
  • Antibiotics if any bacterial infection may be part of the problem
  • Supplemental oxygen
  • Non-invasive positive pressure ventilation, a form of machine-assisted breathing
  • Mechanical ventilation, or temporary life support, through a breathing tube
  • IV medicines to ease heart strain

SOURCES:

Libby, P. W.B. Saunders, 2007. Braunwald's Heart Disease 8th Edition,

Mason, R. , 5th edition, Saunders, 2010. Murray and Nadel’s Textbook of Respiratory Medicine

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on December 28, 2018

SOURCES:

Libby, P. W.B. Saunders, 2007. Braunwald's Heart Disease 8th Edition,

Mason, R. , 5th edition, Saunders, 2010. Murray and Nadel’s Textbook of Respiratory Medicine

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on December 28, 2018

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