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February 9, 1929

THE CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF CARDIAC ASTHMAREVIEW OF TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY CASES

Author Affiliations

BOSTON

From the Electrocardiographic Laboratory and Cardiac Clinic of the Massachusetts General Hospital.

JAMA. 1929;92(6):431-434. doi:10.1001/jama.1929.02700320001001
Abstract

Cardiac asthma is a paroxysmal acute dyspnea generally occurring at night but sometimes following exertion, lasting from minutes to hours and accompanied by a sense of suffocation, by wheezing and often by cough with frothy sputum, which may or may not be bloody, and which is due fundamentally to serious heart disease, especially involving the left ventricle. The attack is characteristically relieved by the upright position and by morphine. On physical examination, wheezing respiration and sometimes bubbling râles are observed. A synonym occasionally used for the more severe cases is acute suffocative pulmonary edema. The term cardiac asthma is much more suitable for this condition than is paroxysmal dyspnea alone, which is far less descriptive and which may include other conditions, such as Cheyne-Stokes respiration. The word asthma is derived from the Greek [unk]σθμα ([unk]σθμαίνω) meaning short drawn breath, panting. The word was used in ancient times in a phrase

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