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Multidiscip Respir Med. 2010 Jun 30;5(3):211-5. doi: 10.1186/2049-6958-5-3-211.

Qualitative aspects of exertional dyspnea in patients with restrictive lung disease.

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Department of Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Fondazione Don C, Gnocchi, Florence, Italy.


Restrictive lung disease is a broad term encompassing a number of conditions in which lung volumes are reduced. Dyspnea is a common clinical manifestation of restrictive lung disease and frequently becomes a prominent and disabling symptom that undermines patients' ability to function and engage in activities of daily living (especially in those with more advanced restriction). Effective management of this disabling symptom awaits a better understanding of its underlying physiology. In recent decades, our understanding of the mechanisms of dyspnea in restrictive lung disease has been improved by a small, but significant, body of research. One approach to the study of dyspnea is to identify the major qualitative dimensions of the symptom in an attempt to uncover different underlying neurophysiologic mechanisms. This article will review the existing literature on the intensity and qualitative dimensions of dyspnea during exercise in patients with restrictive lung disease. The main focus will be on interstitial lung disease (ILD), since it is the prototypical restrictive disease.

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