Cardiac asthma: treatment and symptoms, emergency care

The word «asthma» in translation from Greek language means «dyspnea» or «shortness of breath». Cardiac asthma is the result of acute disruption of the left chamber of the heart and is characterized by attacks of asthma, which represent a significant hazard and may result in death.

Attack of cardiac asthma – what is it?

Heart failure often affects the left heart (atrium and ventricle). This affects the blood circulation in the small circle due to the reduction of the volume enters the left ventricle the blood, which is accompanied by the development of stagnation. The result of the stagnation of blood is in pulmonary edema, accompanied by accumulation of plasma in the alveoli and the intercellular substance, a sharp violation of the exchange of gases (oxygen into the blood and excretion of carbon dioxide) and severe shortness of breath (compensatory reaction to hypoxia). The mechanism of development of cardiac asthma is sold under the influence of various pathological factors.


Cardiac asthma is a syndrome with multiple causative factors, not a separate disease. This means that it develops as a result of various pathologies, leading to sudden failure of the left heart. To such pathological conditions include:

  • The valvular left heart (mitral stenosis).
  • Long-term course of coronary heart disease with failure of functional activity of the myocardium (heart muscle).
  • Acute myocardial infarction, where after the death of part of the heart muscle was not more than 28 days.
  • Hypertensive crisis – a sharp and significant increase in blood pressure, leading to weakening of the contractility of the left heart.
  • Myocardial infarction – the replacement of land of the lost myocardium by connective tissue with loss of functional activity phase of the heart.
  • Cardiomyopathy (violation of metabolism in the myocardial cells) and myocarditis (inflammation of heart muscle).
  • Cardiac aneurysm – a bulging formation of the heart wall due to a decrease in its strength.
  • Atrial fibrillation – severe violation of the frequency and rhythm of heart contractions, leading to failure of contractile function.
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The stagnation in the lungs can also cause a condition in which increased blood flow to the left atrium of the heart (pregnancy, physical and emotional stress). Against the background of a pathology of heart, they can lead to the development of severe cardiac asthma.

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The clinical picture of cardiac asthma is characterized by specific symptoms, which often develop in the form of attack at night, after physical or emotional stress. They include:

  • Characterized by deep and rapid breathing.
  • The feeling of lack of air.
  • Inspiratory shortness of breath – hard breath.
  • Paroxysmal cough.
  • Pallor or cyanosis (bluish coloration) of skin on the face (typically, pallor is replaced by cyanosis because of hypoxia).
  • Excessive sweating.

Subjectively, the patient noted a pronounced fear of death, anxiety. It usually takes a sitting position, whereby the breathing somewhat easier, or suited to the open window.
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Diagnosis of cardiac asthma is to identify the reasons for the development and severity of insufficient functional activity of the left heart. For this purpose different methods of instrumental (food, chest x-ray), functional (ECG, Holter) and laboratory (biochemical analysis of blood) diagnosis. Additional research is necessary to differentiate the pathological condition of asthma.

Differential diagnosis of cardiac and bronchial asthma

Bronchial asthma has similar clinical symptoms in the form of attacks of breathlessness and dry cough, but its mechanism of development and treatment have fundamental differences. The main differences of cardiac asthma are increased heart rate, inspiratory dyspnea (asthma is characterized by a primary difficulty exhaling). Also if the symptoms of asthma can be reduced by using cardiac glycosides, it indicates its cardiac origin.

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Treatment of cardiac asthma

Planned treatment of cardiac asthma is aimed at preventing the development of asthma attacks. Depending on the underlying reason for this used drugs of different pharmacological groups (cardiac glycosides, antiarrhythmic and antihypertensive agents). Also when cardiac asthma necessarily performed activities to prevent the impact of precipitating factors, restriction of physical and emotional stress, avoiding harmful habits, a diet with a decrease in the use of salt, spices, fatty and fried foods. Control of efficiency of therapy by the doctor on the basis of dynamics of clinical symptoms and results of additional diagnostics.


In the case of the first signs of an attack of cardiac asthma is a very important event is first aid. Before the arrival of the ambulance should follow some recommendations, which include:

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  • Easier breathing by taking in a sitting position.
  • Ensuring adequate oxygenation of the blood, which can open the window (in the inhaled air increases oxygen concentration).
  • Taking certain heart medications – resorption tablets Nitroglycerin or Nifedipine, which facilitate blood flow from the pulmonary veins into the left atrium.

Further introduction of drugs conducted by a doctor (medicines are administered intravenously or intramuscularly). The treatment of this pathological condition folk remedies are contraindicated because their use may exacerbate the failure of the left heart, and to lead to a concomitant Allergy.