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Hyperventilation Syndrome

Hyperventilation Syndrome is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Hyperventilation syndrome describes a constellation of symptoms:
    • Most commonly: Dyspnea, chest pain, lightheadedness, and paresthesias
  • Produced by a nonphysiologic increase in minute ventilation:
    • Minute ventilation may be increased by increasing respiratory rate or tidal volume (sighs).
  • Pathologic or physiologic causes of hyperventilation must be excluded before the diagnosis of hyperventilation syndrome can be assigned.
  • Prevalence:
    • 10–15% in the general population
    • More common in women (may be related to progesterone)


  • Etiology of symptoms is unclear:
    • Usually a response to psychological stressors
  • Controversy exists regarding underlying disorders that may contribute to hyperventilation:
    • Hypocapnia
    • Hypophosphatemia
    • Hypocalcemia

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Hyperventilation Syndrome." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307687/all/Hyperventilation_Syndrome.
Hyperventilation Syndrome. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307687/all/Hyperventilation_Syndrome. Accessed April 24, 2019.
Hyperventilation Syndrome. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307687/all/Hyperventilation_Syndrome
Hyperventilation Syndrome [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 24]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307687/all/Hyperventilation_Syndrome.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Hyperventilation Syndrome ID - 307687 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307687/all/Hyperventilation_Syndrome PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -