Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Symptoms Evaluation Underlying Cause Anatomy

Respiratory Failure Overview

What is respiratory failure?
A person with respiratory failure has life-threatening difficulty breathing. Left untreated, respiratory failure will lead to cardiac arrest. Causes of respiratory failure include severe cases of asthma, COPD, heart failure, pneumonia, and anaphylaxis.

What are the symptoms of respiratory failure?
Signs and symptoms of respiratory failure include noisy breathing, rapid breathing, rapid heart rate, and blue lips and nail beds. During each breath, the nostrils open widely, and the ribs and neck muscles become more visible beneath the skin.

How does the doctor treat respiratory failure?
Treatment for respiratory failure depends on the underlying cause. Treatment includes oxygen therapy and mechanical ventilator therapy.

Continue to Respiratory Failure Symptoms

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