Last reviewed 01/2018

If a respiratory arrest has occurred, ventilation is required using a bag and mask with 100% oxygen.

The chest or abdomen should be watched for rises and falls, which if absent may suggest a poorly fitting mask or obstructed airway.

When the airway is patent and oxygen is being given, blood gas analysis should be carried out unless the physician is absolutely certain that ventilation is adequate.

After thoracic trauma, grunting respiration usually signifies a pneumothorax or haemopneumothorax. Additionally, these may be under tension and require immediate evacuation.

Ventilatory assistance may also be required due to central depression due to trauma, haemorrhage or cerebral oedema. Advanced cerebral hypoxia from asphyxia or more commonly, hypovolaemic shock, may also trigger a respiratory arrest.