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Medicina Intensiva

versión impresa ISSN 0210-5691


MAS, A. et al. Utility of the detection of nasal flaring in the assessment of severity of dyspnea. Med. Intensiva [online]. 2010, vol.34, n.3, pp.182-187. ISSN 0210-5691.

Objective: To determine if the presence of nasal flaring is indicative of severe respiratory insufficiency. Methods: Prospective observational study of patients consulting in the Emergency Department because of dyspnea whose triage level is II or III in the Spanish Triage System (MAT-SET). Vital signs, SpO2, arterial blood gases and nasal flaring presence were recorded, as well as the need for hospital admission and length of hospital stay. Data are presented as median (25-75th percentile). Results: A total of 43 patients were analyzed (70% men, aged 77 (67-82) years), 7 of whom showed nasal flaring. Those having flaring had higher respiratory rate (36 (34-40) vs. 25 (20-28) vs., p=0.001) and were more acidotic (pH 7.34 [7.23-7.40] vs. 7.42 [7.39-7.46] vs., p=0.03) than patients without this sign. There were no differences between groups in SpO2, PaCO2, heart rate and arterial pressure. There were no differences in the rate of hospital admission-(6 patients [85.7%] in nasal flaring group vs 29 patients [80.5%] in the non nasal flaring group [p=0,06], or in the length of the hospital stay-3 days [1-16] in nasal flaring group vs. 6 days [1-10] in the non nasal flaring group, p=0.6). All patients with nasal flaring had tachypnea. Conclusion: In our study, nasal flaring does not indicate severity in dyspneic patients in spite of its association with tachypnea and acidosis.

Palabras clave : Dyspnea; Respiratory insufficiency; Physical examination; Pulmonary ventilation; Acute disease.

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