Dyspnea is a common symptom in patients with acute and chronic critical illness as well as in patients receiving palliative care. While dyspnea can be found in a variety of clinical arenas and across many specialties, the mechanisms that cause dyspnea are similar. Although not often the cause for admission to critical care, it may complicate and extend length of stay. This article defines and describes dyspnea and its pathophysiology. Critical care nurses should strive to implement interventions supported by evidence whenever possible. An evidence-based plan of care for the assessment, planning, intervention, and evaluation of the patient with dyspnea is outlined, using levels of recommendation based on the strength of available evidence. Two case studies are presented to illustrate its application to clinical practice.

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