It is prudent to consider potentially serious causes in a young adult patient presenting with insidious-onset dyspnoea. Such causes include heart failure due to cardiomyopathy and pulmonary arterial hypertension.
- Dyspnoea is a common symptom in young adults but is not a diagnosis.
- In most cases, diagnosis of the cause of dyspnoea is made with history, clinical examination and simple investigations.
- Consider serious diseases in a young patient presenting with insidious-onset dyspnoea and no obvious cause.
- Heart failure due to cardiomyopathy and pulmonary arterial hypertension are diseases that occur in young, previously healthy individuals.
- Baseline investigations include ECG, chest x-ray and blood tests.
- Referral for echocardiogram and specialist opinion is essential for those in whom the cause is unclear.