Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath can be due to a problem with the pumping action of the heart or due to problems with the lungs.

Heart conditions that lead to shortness of breath include heart failure, abnormally rapid or slow heart rates and a lack of blood supply to the heart. This is sometimes called ‘angina variant’.

A detailed consultation and physical examination will help to decide the most likely cause for the breathlessness.

Subsequent tests will then be arranged accordingly. Tests you can have on the day will include an ECG, echocardiogram and a chest X-ray.

Other possible tests will include an ambulatory ECG tape to monitor your heart, a treadmill test and perhaps a CT angiogram to look at the arteries that supply your heart.

Further information regarding the symptoms and investigations mentioned above are available within the Learning Zone, accessible via the main menu.