What Is Cheyne-Stokes Respiration?

What is Cheyne-Stokes respiration?

Cheyne-stokes respirations, also referred to as agonal breathing, are a very irregular pattern of breathing resulting in hyperpnea.


Cheyne-Stokes breathing is often common in someone who are at the end of life. But it is also important to note that this breathing may also occur in people who are not near death, but with following conditions, such as:

  • Congestive heart failure;
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning;
  • Hyponatremia;
  • Sleeping at high altitudes;
  • Stroke;
  • Traumatic brain injury;
  • Some medication overdoses such as morphine.


It’s believed that Cheyne-Stokes breathing is a physiological compensatory response that does not necessarily need to be treated per se.

However, doctors should be alert to this kind of breathing disorder when examining other findings related to heart failure. Some treatment options, including home oxygen therapy and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), are recommended.

If you have any questions, please go to see a doctor for professional help.

Key words: Cheyne-stokes respirations; agonal breathing; hyperpnea; congestive heart failure; home oxygen therapy; continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP).

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