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Respiratory Failure

Respiratory Failure Causes

There are different causes of this condition. Namely: pulmonary dysfunction (like asthma, emphysema, congestive heart failure and cystic fibrosis), fatigue due to prolonged tachypnoea in metabolic acidosis, or drug intoxication that suppresses respiratory function.

Respiratory Failure Definition

Respiratory failure is a medical term describing the inability of the lungs to accurately and properly function. Respiratory failure can be shown by observing the oxygen (too low) and carbon dioxide (too high) levels in the blood due to a break down in gas exchange (the process of exchange between air spaces and blood in the lungs) or the movement of air in and out of the lungs.

Respiratory Failure Diagnosis

A Physical exam is used to show if the patient is breathing rapidly, has rapid pulse and is restless. The doctor also listens to the chest for wheezing or crackles signifying obstructions in the lungs.

Respiratory Failure Symptoms and Signs

Majority of patients suffering from this condition experience the following: short of breath, impaired mental functions due to either low oxygen and/or high carbon dioxide, confusion, disorientation, and an inability to engage in normal work or activities. Too much CO2 can cause headache, leading to a semi-conscious state, or, in severe cases, even coma. Skins of patients with low blood oxygen may appear bluish; and can produce arrhythmia.

Respiratory Failure Treatment

CPR or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is for emergency situations. Treatment primarily focuses on treating the underlying cause of this condition. Sometimes, machine ventilation may be required.

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