UTSW Cardiologists ID New Symptom of Advanced Heart Failure

Shortness of breath while bending over is a likely symptom of advanced heart failure that could indicate the condition is progressing, UT Southwestern cardiologists found.

They named the easily detectable symptom “bendopnea” and say it points to the patient having excessive fluid retention. Many times, the individual thinks the shortness of breath that complements tying their shoe or other menial tasks is because they’re overweight: “We wondered if there was something more to it,” says Dr. Jennifer Thibodeau. “So we developed this study to further investigate this symptom.”

The study was careful to say that bendopnea is not a risk factor for heart failure—it’s merely a signifier that the patients are becoming sicker and should have their medications updated. Nearly a third of the 102 patients in the study had the symptom.

In a release announcing the findings, Thibodeau said those with bendopnea had too much fluid in their bodies and bending over caused the pressure to increase.

About 10 percent of the 5.7 million Americans living with heart failure have an advanced form of it, the American Heart Association says.

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