Agonal breathing is the medical term used to describe when an individual is struggling to breathe or gasping for air. It is often a symptom of a severe medical emergency, such as stroke or cardiac arrest. The gasping associated with agonal breathing is not true breathing, but rather a brainstem reflex. Agonal breathing often occurs because the heart is no longer circulating oxygen-rich blood. In other cases, it may be due to the lungs not bringing in enough oxygen.
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