A member asked:

What is copd respiratory failure?

12 doctors weighed in across 4 answers
Dr. Aaron Milstone answered

Specializes in Pulmonology

Respiratory failure in COPD is usually related to a buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood stream (known as hypercapnea). This results in lethargy, headache, poor breathing patterns and even coma. Hypoxic respiratory failure (related to low oxygen) can occur as well but is not as common as hypercapneic respiratory failure.

Answered May 28, 2017

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Dr. Sue Ferranti answered

Specializes in Internal Medicine

Respiratory failure can occur due to a variety of problems, COPD being just one cause. Respiratory failure occurs when the patient cannot ventilate properly resulting in a high carbon dioxide level and a low oxygen level. Treating the underlying cause of the respiratory failure is vital as well as helping the patient to ventilate sometimes even w/ mechanical ventilation.

Answered May 28, 2017

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Dr. Frank Mayo answered

Specializes in Pulmonary Critical Care

Respiratory failure is the inability of the lung to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide. One of the main causes is COPD with decreased air flow and increased work of breathing . This may cause hypoxemia or hypercarbia or both.Treatment is designed to reverse those abnormalities including oxygen and bronchodilators. Mechanical support may be required for resistent disease.

Answered May 28, 2017

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Dr. Karen Sibert answered

Specializes in Anesthesiology

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It's a problem with the lungs that makes it hard to breathe and can deprive the body of critical oxygen. With respiratory failure, the lungs are bad enough that a breathing tube and ventilator may be required. Treatment includes medications, oxygen, stopping smoking, and sometimes surgery depending on the exact cause of the problem.

Answered May 28, 2017

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