Platypnea-Orthodeoxia Syndrome: A Case of Chronic Paroxysmal Hypoxemia

C. Craig Rudy, Cody Ballard, Craig Broberg, Alan J. Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


A 75-year-old man with chronic (30-year) unexplained paroxysmal hypoxemia presented with postural hypoxemia and desaturation consistent with a clinical manifestation of platypnea-orthodeoxia syndrome. His history included a lack of significant past pulmonary disease, yet with intermittent need for oxygen supplementation. On admission he was found to have an interatrial shunt through a patent foramen ovale. Device closure by percutaneous catheterization led to sustained resolution of symptoms. Platypnea-orthodeoxia syndrome is a rare but important consideration in the differential diagnosis of hypoxemia, as it represents a potentially curable cause of hypoxemia, with missed diagnosis leading to possible patient morbidity if untreated. Even more importantly, an astute and careful history and physical examination are integral to the diagnosis of this rare but likely under-recognized syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-130
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of general internal medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • hypoxemia
  • intracardiac shunt
  • orthodeoxia
  • patent foramen ovale
  • platypnea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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