Trepopnea: Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Complications, Diagnosis and Treatment

It is the difficulty to breathe, when lying on one side, but not on the other.

Dyspnea is the medical term for shortness of breath , sometimes described as “hunger for air,” which is a very uncomfortable sensation.

Dyspnea in the upright position is a rare type of respiratory distress when lying down, and is known as trepopnea.

Shortness of breath can range from mild and temporary to severe and long-lasting.

Dyspnea is sometimes difficult to diagnose and treat because there can be many different causes of it.

The relationship of dyspnea with the position of the body is also a data to assess.

For example, orthopnea is dyspnea that appears in the decubitus, platypnea, is dyspnea that appears in an upright position and improves with decubitus and trepopnea, which is dyspnea that appears when adopting a certain lateral position.

Thus, trepopnea is a form of dyspnea in which there is an intolerance for the lateral ulna position.

It is observed in these patients, who choose to lie on the side opposite to the lung that is affected, where the force of gravity increases the perfusion to the lower lung.

Causes of trepopnea

Dyspnea is usually related to a heart and lung problem.

Trepopnea is a little known form of dyspnea, where it is difficult to breathe in only one position, it is dyspnea (difficulty breathing) that you feel lying on one side but not on the other (lying lateral position).

It is the result of disease of a lung, main bronchus, or chronic congestive heart failure.

It is due to a contralateral effusion a main bronchus. It is observed in cardiac diseases and in pleural effusions or a chronic congestive heart failure, or a cardiac dystopia with kinking of the great vessels.

Trepopnea can occur with unilateral diaphragmatic paralysis and trepopnea has been reported by some people taking aspirin.

Symptoms of trepopnea

When dyspnea presents as trepopnea, nocturnal paroxysmal is observed, which is a sensation of shortness of breath that awakens the patient, often after 1 or 2 hours of sleep, and is generally relieved in an upright position.

Other signs that a person is experiencing breathlessness include:

  • Difficulty breathing due to the medical condition.
  • Suffocated feeling as a result of breathing difficulties.
  • Chest tightness.
  • Rapid, shallow breathing.
  • Palpitations in the heart.
  • Wheezing
  • Tos.


  • Dyspnea can be associated with hypoxia or hypoxemia , which is a low level of oxygen in the blood. This can lead to a lowered level of consciousness and other severe symptoms.
  • If the dyspnea is severe and continues for some time, there is a risk of temporary or permanent cognitive impairment.
  • It can also be a sign of the onset or worsening of other medical problems.

Diagnosis of trepopnea

Usually, the doctor will be able to diagnose Trepopnea based on a complete physical examination of the person, along with a complete description of their experiences.

A person will need to explain how and when their breathlessness attacks started, how long they last, how often they occur, and how severe they are.

Doctors can use chest x-rays and CT images to make a more specific diagnosis of dyspnea and assess the health of the heart, lungs, and related systems.

An EKG can help show any signs of a heart attack or other electrical problem in the heart.

Spirometry tests are recommended to measure airflow and lung capacity of the patient, this can help to identify the type and extent of an individual’s respiratory problems.

Additional tests can look at the oxygen level in a patient’s blood and the ability of the blood to carry oxygen.


Treatment for trepopnea will depend on what is causing the problem.

For those patients with chronic conditions, the doctor will work with the person to help them breathe easier.

This will involve developing a treatment plan that helps prevent acute episodes and slow the progression of the disease overall.

Breathing problems may improve with special breathing techniques, such as pursed lip breathing and muscle-strengthening breathing exercises.

People can learn how to do this in pulmonary rehabilitation programs.

Increased perfusion in the diseased lung would increase shunting and hypoxemia, leading to a worsening of shortness of breath.

To maximize the function of the healthiest lung, it is best for the patient to lie on the side of the healthiest lung, so that they receive adequate perfusion.

Patients with chronic heart failure prefer to rest especially on the right side, to allow a better return of blood, thus increasing cardiac output.

If tests indicate low oxygen levels in the blood, supplemental oxygen can be given.

However, not all people with shortness of breath will have low oxygen levels in their blood.