What is respiratory insufficiency?

By David Samadi
Updated 2021-02-17 19:20:38 | Published 2018-09-09 06:11:50
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A pathological condition of an organism characterized by an interfered gas exchange in lungs is called respiratory insufficiency. As a result of this dysfunction the oxygen level in blood considerably decreases and the carbon dioxide level increases. The hypoxia or oxygen deficiency develops in organs (also in the brain and heart) because of insufficient oxygen influx to tissues.

This condition is normally assessed in the clinical setting for the rate of symptoms development, their severity and for combination of this disease with failure of other systems.

Depending on the rate of symptoms development there can be an acute and a chronic forms of this disease. An acute form develops within several minutes or hours. It can be cured or turns into chronic form which is manifested by the shortness of breath and can last months and years.

Chronic respiratory failure can suddenly become aggravated and acquire signs of the acute form under the influence of additional adverse factors .

Depending on the severity this insufficiency can be hidden (asymptomatic) and in this case it can be detected only by special research methods; compensated (gas composition of arterial blood is normal due to activation of compensatory mechanisms) and decompensated (there is an arterial hypoxemia and (or) a hypercapnia in this case).

Respiratory disturbance is subdivided into three degrees:

  1. I – inability to carry loads exceeding normal daily level;
  2. II – limited ability to carry daily loads;
  3. III – emergence of short wind even at rest.

The hidden form of the disease demands only preventive and rehabilitation measures. In case of the compensated form, the treatment has to be directed at prevention of breath decompensation. In case of the decompensated form, an urgent or planned artificial replacement of external respiration, i.e. intensive therapy, is needed.

This disease can be caused by different reasons affecting the breathing in general or pulmonary functions: obstruction or airway constriction occuring at bronchiectatic disease, chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, mucoviscidosis, pulmonary emphysema, laryngeal edema, aspiration and a foreign matter in bronchial tubes; damage of pulmonary tissue at pulmonary fibrosis, alveolit (inflammation of air vesicles) with development of fibrous processes, distress syndrome, malignant tumor, radiation therapy, burns, lung abscess, medicinal impact on a lung; dysfunction of blood circulation in lungs (at pulmonary embolism) that reduces oxygen supply in blood; congenital heart diseases (acleistocardia) – blue blood passes through the lungs and gets directly into organs; muscle weakness (at poliomyelitis, polymyositis, myasthenia, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injury); breath weakening (at drug and alcohol overdose, sleep apnea, obesity); costal framework and backbone anomalies (scoliokyphosis, thorax wound); anemia, massive blood loss; damage of the central nervous system; rise of blood pressure in pulmonary circuit.

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  • General Health
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    • The level of the general health is determined depending by the presence and severity of the vital body functions decompensation. In accordance with this, the doctor takes a decision on urgency and necessity of therapeutic measures.

  • Respiratory Tract
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    • The respiratory tract is a complex of organs providing the human body with oxygen. This process is called gas exchange.