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Dyspnea, Cough, and Terminal Secretions 

Dyspnea, Cough, and Terminal Secretions
Chapter:
Dyspnea, Cough, and Terminal Secretions
Author(s):

DorAnne Donesky

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190862374.003.0016
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date: 18 October 2019

This chapter presents the pathophysiology, measurement tools, and recommended interventions for three common conditions experienced by people diagnosed with serious illness: dyspnea, cough, and terminal secretions. Self-management experiences of people who lived with chronic dyspnea for many years provide a foundation for the discussion of pharmacological, mechanical, and behavioral therapies for dyspnea. Attention to the common neurological pathway for dyspnea is important for dyspnea management in addition to correcting the physiological defect. Cough is a physically exhausting and socially distressing experience, with little recent progress toward consistent management solutions. Terminal secretions or “death rattle” can be distressing for loved ones and staff, although it does not seem to cause discomfort for the patient.

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