Trepopnea may explain right-sided pleural effusion in patients with decompensated heart failure

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BackgroundPhysicians often overlook trepopnea as a symptom, and its prevalence and clinical repercussions are not usually described. We propose that trepopnea is a common symptom in heart failure (HF) and, because of patient avoidance of left lateral decubitus position, contributes to the greater prevalence of right-sided pleural effusion in patients with HF. Accordingly, this study aimed to determine trepopnea prevalence and to evaluate the association of trepopnea and the laterality of pleural effusion in decompensated HF.MethodsConsecutive patients (n = 37) with decompensated HF and evidence of pleural effusion by chest x-ray were included. Data were collected at the emergency department by a standard clinical examination in which patients were specifically asked about the presence of trepopnea and preferred decubitus position while recumbent. Chest x-ray and echocardiographic parameters were recorded.ResultsOf the 37 patients, 19 (51%) reported trepopnea. Most patients presented with right-sided pleural effusion; only 2 patients (5.4%) presented with left-sided pleural effusion. Patients who reported trepopnea had predominant right-sided pleural effusion more frequently than patients without this symptom (73.7% vs 26.3%; P = .049). The participants that reported trepopnea or avoidance of left lateral decubitus position while recumbent or both had a greater probability of having predominant right-sided pleural effusion (likelihood ratio, 1.85; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-3.35).ConclusionsTrepopnea is a common symptom in patients with decompensated HF and is associated with predominant right-sided pleural effusion in this population. Our results indicate that trepopnea may be a contributory factor for pleural effusion laterality in patients with decompensated HF.

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