There are a few clinics in the US that specialize in dyspnea. Many non-specialist physicians treat patients with dyspnea – this is entirely appropriate in most cases. There are, however, some patients who may benefit from seeing a specialist. In particular, patients in the following categories may wish to consult a specialist dyspnea clinic:
• Patients in whom the cause of shortness of breath is difficult to determine.
• Patients whose shortness of breath is intractable.
• Patients whose shortness of breath is out of proportion to their known physical problems.
In our view, a specialist clinic should have the following characteristics:
• Medical staff should display an expertise in the physiological mechanisms of dyspnea and therapeutic modalities.
• The clinic should have staff or regular consultants available who are expert in several specialties such as pulmonology, cardiology, psychology or psychiatry.
• The clinic should have the capability to evaluate patients with respiratory discomfort of unclear origin using methods such as cardio-pulmonary exercise testing, pulmonary function and respiratory muscle testing, psychological evaluation, muscle biopsy.
• The clinic should be affiliated with a pulmonary rehabilitation program.
There are many of Pulmonary Rehabilitation programs in the US and Canada that can help reduce symptoms in may patients. You can find one convenient to your home by entering the key words “Pulmonary Rehab” + your state or city into Google or another search engine.