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Cheyne-Stokes Respirations


Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: Cheyne-stokes respirations are a pattern of irregular breathing often seen in the last days of life. Breathing can be very deep and rapid, followed by periods of slow shallow breaths, or episodes of apnea, where an individual stops breathing altogether for a period of time.

Cheyne-stokes respirations are common during the dying process from any illness. They can also occur with other conditions such as brain injuries, high altitude sickness, and overdoses of certain medications.

Further Reading:

Also Known As: agonal respiration, periodic breathing
When his father developed Cheyne-stokes respirations, Jordan called his family to let them know it appeared his father was dying.
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