Respiratory failure is, by definition, a failure of gas exchange. There are two types:
- Type 1: hypoxaemia with a normal or low CO2
- Type 2: hypoxaemia with a high CO2
The main symptom is shortness of breath. Signs of repiratory failure are listed in this table.
There are several pathophysiological mechanisms underlying respiratory failure, they are:
- Alveolar hypoventilation
- Diffusion deficit
- Ventilation – perfusion mismatch
We will now discuss all these in order.