Dyspnea is among the most frequent complaints among older adults. The prevalence of comorbid medical conditions combined with physiological changes of aging present significant challenges to the diagnosis. The initial approach to the older adult with dyspnea mandates consideration of a broad range of diagnoses. Failure to consider life-threatening medical conditions presenting with dyspnea, such as pulmonary embolism, acute coronary syndromes, congestive heart failure, asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease, pneumothorax, and pneumonia, can lead to significant morbidity and mortality. This review focuses on the rapid assessment and approach to the older adult with acute dyspnea.
Key words: dyspnea, shortness of breath, approach, geriatric, older adults.