A list of the common terms used in medicine to describe respiration and a summary of what they mean.

Apnea - cessation of respiration

Biot's breathing: sequences of uniformly deep gasps, apnea, then more gasps.

Breathlessness: the state of being out of breath or having difficulty breathing, whatever the cause.

Cheyne-Stokes respiration: cycles of gradual increase in tidal volume, followed by a gradual decrease in tidal volume and a period of apnea.

Dyspnea: pain or unpleasantness on increased respiratory effort, sometimes used interchangeable with breathlessness.

Eupnea: Normal breathing.

Gasping: spasmodic inspiratory effort

Hyperpnea: an increase in minute ventilation without reference to the PaCO2. Equivalent to tachypnea

Hyperventilation: an increase in minute ventilation disproportionate to the arterial concentration of carbon dioxdie. (PaCO2 <37mmHg).

Hypoventilation: a decrease in minute ventilation disproportionate to the arterial concentration of carbon dioxdie. (PaCO2 >43mmHg).

Kussmaul respiration: deep, rapid breathing, characteristic of metabolic acidosis

Stridor: the sound of airway obstruction in the upper respiratory tract.

Tachypnea: an increase in respiratory rate.

Wheezing: sound caused by airflow limitation of whatever cause. Stridor is a subset of wheezing.


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