Cardiothoracic Surgery Patient Care
Phone: 210-257-1888 or tollfree 1-877-493-5040
Orthopnea - Shortness of breath when lying down: An abnormal condition in which a person must keep the head elevated (sit or stand) to breathe deeply or comfortably (orthopnea) or wakes up suddenly in the middle of the night short of breath (paroxysmal nocturnal dyspnea).
For people with some types of heart or lung problems, this is a common complaint. Sometimes the problem is subtle and is only noticed when the person realizes that sleep is more comfortable with lots of pillows under the head or in a propped up position.