Medical Definition of Platypnea

Reviewed on 4/26/2022

Platypnea is a term that refers to shortness of breath or difficulty breathing that occurs when standing up or sitting and is relieved by lying flat. This is in contrast to orthopnea, which is much more common, and refers to shortness of breath when lying down that is relieved by assuming an upright position.

The cause of platypnea is not well understood, but it is believed to be related to conditions that cause shifts in the normal pattern of blood flow between the arterial and the venous circulation, such as atrial septal defects in the heart.



COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma. See Answer

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.