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Respiratory failure

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Respiratory failure is a medical condition which affects respiration It leads to the Alevoli in the lung not getting enough oxygen. As a consequence of this, gas exchange in the blood is hampered. Respiratory failure is a direct threat to the life of the person affected. For this reason, it is a medical emergency. Emergency treatment of respiratory faliure is very similar to that of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.


Respiratory failure has been classified according to its cause:

  • In obstructive respiratory failure, there is a mechanical problem that blocks or tightens the passage of the air. Examples of conditions that can produce this include Asthma and Cystic fibrosis.
  • In restrictive respiratory failure, the volume of the Human rib cage is reduced. An example for this is Scoliosis.
  • In traumatic respiratory failure, the air that is breathed takes the wrong route. Examples are Pneumothorax and Hemothorax.

In addition, respiratory failure can be classified accoding to the speed at which it devleops:

  • Chronic respiratory failure develops at slow speed
  • Acute respiratory failure develops rapidly