Platypnea-orthodeoxia related to aortic elongation

Chest. 1997 Dec;112(6):1682-4. doi: 10.1378/chest.112.6.1682.


An 80-year-old woman presented with progressive shortness of breath. There was no history of pulmonary or cardiac disease. Results of a physical examination were normal. She had significant oxygen desaturation while she was in an upright position. Admission to the hospital for workup followed, and evaluation included tilt-table transesophageal echocardiogram and cardiac catheterization. A massive right-to-left shunt through a patent foramen ovale was detected, and surgical intervention resulted in dramatic improvement of symptoms. In this patient, it seems that the syndrome of platypnea-orthodeoxia was related to aortic elongation, allowing significant right-to-left shunt.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aorta, Thoracic
  • Aortic Diseases / complications*
  • Aortic Diseases / diagnosis
  • Aortic Diseases / etiology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Dyspnea / diagnosis
  • Dyspnea / etiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / complications
  • Heart Septal Defects, Atrial / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / diagnosis
  • Hypoxia / etiology*
  • Posture*
  • Syndrome