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Respiratory Failure

Immediate Care for Respiratory Failure

Respiratory failure occurs when an individual can no longer take in oxygen (oxygenation failure), release carbon dioxide (ventilatory failure) or both.

When it happens suddenly, it’s called acute respiratory failure and must be treated immediately. University Hospitals offers emergency services to normalize oxygen levels or ventilate patients with high carbon dioxide levels.

If this condition continues to progress gradually, it is then considered chronic respiratory failure. Pulmonary specialists at University Hospitals treat these patients with prevention and maintenance therapies.

Conditions that Contribute to Respiratory Failure

Respiratory failure is not an illness, but the result of breathing problems stemming from other conditions or diseases, including:

  • Neurological disorders such as stroke, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries and Lou Gehrig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS)
  • Lung diseases such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), pneumonia, cystic fibrosis and pulmonary embolism
  • Chest trauma
  • Drug or alcohol overdose
  • Lung damage from smoking or fumes

If you’re need more information about respiratory failure or are seeking a second option, consider the pulmonary experts at University Hospitals. We take a multidisciplinary approach to care, addressing both the underlying condition as well as the resulting respiratory failure.