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Dyspnea is a subjective experience of breathing discomfort that can only be known through a patient's report. Numeric rating or visual analog scales allow assessment of intensity when the patient can self-report. The Respiratory Distress Observation Scale is a valid, reliable tool for estimating distress when self-report cannot be elicited. Treating dyspnea begins with managing the underlying condition. Other dyspnea-specific evidence-based interventions include morphine and fentanyl, upright positioning, oxygen, invasive and noninvasive ventilation, and balancing rest with activity. Effectiveness has not been established for benzodiazepines, nebulized furosemide, oxygen in the face of normoxemia, other opioids, and nebulized fentanyl.

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