Respiratory Failure

Defined

Respiratory failure is a condition in which your blood doesn't have enough oxygen or has too much carbon dioxide. Sometimes you can have both problems.

When you breathe, your lungs take in oxygen. The oxygen passes into your blood, which carries it to your organs. Your organs, such as your heart and brain, need this oxygen-rich blood to work well.

 

Another part of breathing is removing the carbon dioxide from the blood and breathing it out. Having too much carbon dioxide in your blood can harm your organs.

 

https://medlineplus.gov/respiratoryfailure.html

Diagnosis

Your health care provider will diagnose respiratory failure based on

  • Your medical history

  • A physical exam, which often includes

    • Listening to your lungs to check for abnormal sounds

    • Listening to your heart to check for arrhythmia

    • Looking for a bluish color on your skin, lips, and fingernails

  • Diagnostic tests, such as

    • Pulse oximetry, a small sensor that uses a light to measure how much oxygen is in your blood. The sensor goes on the end of your finger or on your ear.

    • Arterial blood gas test, a test that measures the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in your blood. The blood sample is taken from an artery, usually in your wrist.

 

Once you are diagnosed with respiratory failure, your provider will look for what is causing it. Tests for this often include a chest x-ray. If your provider thinks you may have arrhythmia because of the respiratory failure, you may have an EKG (electrocardiogram). This is simple, painless test that detects and records your heart's electrical activity.

 

https://medlineplus.gov/respiratoryfailure.html

Treatment

The first goal in treating ARDS is to improve the levels of oxygen in your blood. Without oxygen, your organs can't function properly.

Oxygen

To get more oxygen into your bloodstream, your doctor will likely use:

  • Supplemental oxygen. For milder symptoms or as a temporary measure, oxygen may be delivered through a mask that fits tightly over your nose and mouth.

  • Mechanical ventilation. Most people with ARDS will need the help of a machine to breathe. A mechanical ventilator pushes air into your lungs and forces some of the fluid out of the air sacs.

 

Fluids

 

Carefully managing the amount of intravenous fluids is crucial. Too much fluid can increase fluid buildup in the lungs. Too little fluid can put a strain on your heart and other organs and lead to shock.

 

Medication

People with ARDS usually are given medication to:

  • Prevent and treat infections

  • Relieve pain and discomfort

  • Prevent blood clots in the legs and lungs

  • Minimize gastric reflux

  • Sedate

 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ards/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355581

Drugs

Current research & peer reviewed journals

Support Groups

Patient /Family Stories; Suggestions for improvement

Please submit2500 words or less explaining or educating others on your experience. Send Essays to titled EDU. Submission to admin@rosehomecarehha.com thank you.