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Saturday, November 28, 2009

Can you be short of breath while sleeping

Can a person be short of breath while sleeping comfortably?  I was always under the impression that the answer was no. Yet tonight I was called to do a breathing treatment because the nurse thought, "well, he just sounds like he could use one."

"So is he short of breath," I asked over the phone.

"Yes," she said.

Yet, when I arrived, the patient was sleeping.  "He's sleeping."  I stated the obvious.

"Yes.  He's short-of-breath while sleeping."

"Is that posible?" I asked. 

I listened.  "He has good air movement, a sign that he's not in bronchospasm.  And he's also snoring."

After the treatment the nurse said, "Does he sound better?"

"He's still snoring," I said.

To be honest, I can't imagine being able to sleep while being short-of-breath.  I know I couldn't do it. What do you think?


Steve said...

I believe that you CAN feel short of breath while you sleep ( I even experience breathlessness in my dreams), but I doubt that anyone would be able to tell unless you were in severe distress.

The snoring thing is interesting. Maybe the nurse got that mixed up with resp distress.
Oh..the fun of working night shift.

Rick Frea said...

Steve, to be honest, I thought of you as I wrote this. I too have slept while short of breath. But usually when I do it's out of pure exhaustion.

Rick Frea said...

It must be pure horor having sob dreams.