Acute Respiratory Failure in the Patient with Chronic Airflow Obstruction
Respiratory failure occurs when gas exchange is impaired. Mild degrees of respiratory failure with hypoxemia or hypercarbia may be present for many years without apparent serious physiologic consequences because of the body’s normal compensatory mechanisms. The severity of respiratory failure and the need for urgent therapeutic intervention depend on the rate and degree of deterioration in gas exchange as reflected in the arterial blood gases (ABG). Life-threatening, acute respiratory failure occurs when gas exchange is deteriorating rapidly, with accelerated alterations in acid-base chemistry. Abrupt alterations in gas exchange (occurring over minutes to several days) that lower the PaO2 below 55 mm Hg or lower the pH below 7.30 (by raising the PaCO2 above 50 mm Hg) require rapid and aggressive therapy.
KeywordsChronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Pulmonary Artery Pressure Acute Respiratory Failure Nasal Cannula Alveolar Hypoxia
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