The inability of the respiratory system to provide the normal composition of the gases in the arterial blood is called respiratory failure. In other words, respiratory failure is defined as a pathological syndrome in which the level of oxygen in the arterial blood is lowered and the amount of carbon dioxide, on the contrary, is increased.  

Such a painful condition can develop due to a malfunction of the systems and organs that ensure normal breathing, such as the central and peripheral nervous system, respiratory tract and respiratory muscles, alveoli or chest. There are also many different somatic diseases that become frequent risk factors for respiratory failure.

Classification. Etiology

The classification system addresses hypoxic and hypercaptic respiratory failure. Respiratory failure of the hypoxic type, as a rule, develops as a result of disturbances in the ventilation-perfusion relationship and shunting of blood passing through the lungs.  

The most common causes of hypoxic respiratory failure are:


·Chronical bronchitis



Inflammation, embolism, fibrosis, pulmonary edema

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

·Bronchial asthma


Pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary alveolitis

· Pneumoconiosis



Hypercapnic respiratory failure (ventilation) is caused by an increased content of carbon dioxide in the blood. It develops due to the inability of the body for any reason to ensure normal ventilation of the lungs.

Risk factors for the occurrence of this type of pathological syndrome are:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Severe bronchial asthma

Various neuralgic disorders

Congenital muscular dystrophies and myopathies

Myasthenia gravis

· Metabolic and inflammatory myopathies

Primary pulmonary hypertension

· Some diseases of the connective and bone tissues

·Pulmonary edema

Giveventilation syndrome arising from obesity


According to the rate of development, respiratory failure can be acute (develops within a few minutes, days) and chronic (develops over several months, years).

Symptoms Treatment methods

Symptoms of respiratory failure are:  

– heavy or rapid breathing;

– shortness of breath;

– choking;

– insomnia;

– memory impairment;

– confusion;

– headache;

– disorientation;

– loss of consciousness;

– cyanosis (cyanosis of the skin), etc.

The treatment of this pathological syndrome is complex and is aimed both at eliminating the symptoms of respiratory failure, and at eliminating the causes that led to it. Patients with acute respiratory failure are primarily shown oxygen therapy and non-invasive assisted ventilation. In the absence of the desired effect and the deterioration of the patient’s condition, artificial ventilation is performed until the patient’s breathing is normal. At the same time, treatment of the disease that caused respiratory failure is being carried out.

Treatment of chronic respiratory failure involves the elimination of the underlying disease, oxygen therapy, the use of non-invasive ventilation, the use of various methods of bronchopulmonary drainage, and programmatic pulmonary rehabilitation.