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2256 pages added, reviewed or updated during the last month (last updated: 21/4/2021)


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The management of respiratory failure includes the administration of supplemental oxygen, the control of secretions, the treatment of any underlying pulmonary infection, the control of any bronchospasm and measures to limit pulmonary oedema.

Principles:

  • treat the underlying disease

  • physiotherapy

  • oxygen therapy - try to maintain PaO2 > 8 kPa
    • bronchodilators and steroids if there is airways obstruction
    • in some circumstances, respiratory stimulants such as i.v. doxapram 1-4 mg / min, may be indicated if the PaCO2 begins to rise

  • if arterial O2 continues to deteriorate or fails to improve then some form of respiratory support should be considered

  • long-term management should be aimed at the underlying cause of the condition e.g. COAD

Last reviewed 01/2018

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