Hyperventilation syndrome history and symptoms

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] ; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Aditya Govindavarjhulla, M.B.B.S. [2],Farman Khan, MD, MRCP [3]

History and Symptoms


Patients should be asked about frequency and duration of episodes. Patients with HVS have intermittent symptoms, and patients whose symptoms are not intermittent should not be considered as having HVS. Patients should be asked about exertional symptoms. The absence of these symptoms is often helpful in exlcuding chronic pulmonary disease and cardiac conditions. Patients should also be asked about precipitants and relievers.

Further information helpful in history include:

  • Detail history about shortness of breath.
  • Past medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol
  • Medication history
  • Pain - onset, duration and prgoression.
  • Associated symptoms.


Patients with HVS have both Somatic, Psychological signs and symptoms.

Somatic symptoms include

In particular, carpopedal spasm has been described in the original clinical reports of hyperventilation attacks and is still considered a feature of the HVS.[1] The respiratory alkalosis leads to changes in the way the nervous system fires and leads to the paresthesia, dizziness, and perceptual changes that often accompany this condition. Patients with hyperventilation syndrome, might not be aware that they are breathing fast.

Psychological symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Sense of impending doom


  1. Kerr WJ, Gliebe PA, Dalton JW (1938). "Physical Phenomena Associated with Anxiety States: The Hyperventilation Syndrome". California and Western Medicine. 48 (1): 12–6. PMC 1705784. PMID 18744341. Unknown parameter |month= ignored (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)