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Doctor insights on: Ventilator Dependent Respiratory Failure

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Is it possible to live on a ventilator forever with respiratory failure?

Is it possible to live on a ventilator forever with respiratory failure?

No one lives forever: One could live many years on a ventilator with a tracheostomy (hole in the neck) depending on the cause and other factors, but its not without its complications, and quality of life must come into play. ...Read more

Dr. Sue Ferranti
110 Doctors shared insights

Respiratory Failure (Definition)

Respiratory failure describes the condition where a person is unable to breathe in enough oxygen to supply the tissues of their body. Respiratory failure can occur in severe cases of asthma, pneumonia, or any condition that prevents a ...Read more


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Can it be possible for you to live on a ventilator with respiratory failure forever?

Can it be possible for you to live on a ventilator with respiratory failure forever?

Respiratory failure: The simple answer is yes. It's like being on dialysis when you have Kidney failure. The ventilator does the work and your lung exchange the oxygen and carbon dioxide. You have to provided the ventilation and oxygen needed. Example of long term ventilator patients include ALS or end stage Emphysema. ...Read more

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Can I die from acute respiratory failure?

Can I die from acute respiratory failure?

Yes: That is what most people die with that is when there is inadequate oxygenation and the ability to breath. ...Read more

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How painful is death from respiratory failure?

How painful is death from respiratory failure?

It varies: If you see people who are drowning, they really struggle at the beginning. People who develop resp failure from sepsis or copd, they suffer initially, but as the co2 rises it serves as a narcotic and we see them gasping but probably not suffering once consciousness wanes. But acute resp failure from any cause makes someone struggle. So please don't do anything bad. ...Read more

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What number of people on average die of respiratory failure?

What number of people on average die of respiratory failure?

RESP Failure: If you're referring to Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS, there are about 200, 000 cases with 75, 000 deaths annually ...Read more

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How are respiratory failure and respiratory arrest different?

Partial versus full: The job of the respiratory system, breathing, is to get oxygen from the air into the body (the oxygen is fuel just like it is for a fire). It is also to eliminate the waste gas which is carbon dioxide. When the respiratory system can not do this job and either oxygen levels drop or carbon dioxide levels in the blood go up it's respiratory failure. If one stopped breathing its respiratory arrest ...Read more

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How does respiratory failure lead to papilledema?

How does respiratory failure lead to papilledema?

Not connected: In the intensive care unit where I practice, respiratory failure and papilledema can occur in the same situation but one does not cause the other. I can think of situations such as high blood pressure emergency causing both, or trauma situation, or meningitis etc. This is typically a very dire situation where danger of dying or remaining handicapped for the rest of one's life is quite high. ...Read more

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What is the cause of death for respiratory failure?

What is the cause of death for respiratory failure?

See below: There are two types of respiratory failure - hypoxic where the body does not get enough oxygen, and hypercapneic, where the lungs cannot wash out the carbon dioxide. Either one can cause death. Usually, we can give supplemental oxygen or help with various machines to blow off the co2 but if the underlying lung disease cannot be reversed, that results in death. ...Read more

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Is respiratory failure curable, or is the person doomed?

Is respiratory failure curable, or is the person doomed?

Varies: Some will recover quickly. Some may need months of weaning therapy to get off ventilator. Some will never breathe on own. Depends entirely on cause, as it is a symptom of many problems. Resp failure does not always mean lung problem-just inability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide enough to live or protect airway, so can be due to sepsis, heart failure, muscle dz, brain damage, etc. ...Read more

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If you had to boil it down, what is respiratory failure?

If you had to boil it down, what is respiratory failure?

Several reasons: Respiratory failure usually occurs due to one or more of the following...The inability to get oxygen into the blood, the inability to get carbon dioxide out of the blood, a problem with the nerves or muscles that do the work of breathing, or airway obstruction. ...Read more

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What is the recovery like after having respiratory failure and after being resuscitated?

What is the recovery like after having respiratory failure and after being resuscitated?

Depends on cause: Respiratory failure from infection or sepsis is generally reversible. If it is due to an underlying disease like COPD or heart disease the recovery will not be complete and may result in worse functional status and prolonged recovery. ...Read more

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What is the disease from pine tree sap that causes respiratory failure?

What is the disease from pine tree sap that causes respiratory failure?

Asthma or fibrosis: Plicatic and abietic acids from cedar and pine resin cause direct damage to human epithelial cells and chronic exposure can lead to either occupational asthma or (if the worker's response is worse) can lead to pulmonary fibrosis. Woodworker's lung is the name for the fibrosis associated with the chronic inhalation of pine or cedar dust. ...Read more

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If someone has respiratory failure, what treatment is used to revive them?

If someone has respiratory failure, what treatment is used to revive them?

Respiratory support: Usual therapy is bronchodilators, bipap assisted ventilation if needed. Many diseases can cause respiratory failue including lung-copd, ipf, pneumonia), cardiac with severe congestive heart failure and neuromuscular failure to name a few ...Read more

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I've been smoking e-cigs about a year now very often n my breathing has got progressively worse. Can this b reversed or do I have respiratory failure?

I've been smoking e-cigs about a year now very often n my breathing has got progressively worse. Can this b reversed or do I have respiratory failure?

Try to stop: Whoever introduced you to e-cigs was NOT your friend. If they told you that they are "safe", they lied to you. Please do whatever you can to overcome this addiction. The damage to your lungs is not as bad as with regular cigs, but it is still real. Be tough and quit by whatever means you can. ...Read more

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Why do people get respiratory failure?

Why do people get respiratory failure?

Many reasons: They may have underlying lung disease which is made worse by an infection or other trigger, or they may have an overwhelming other problem such as a heart attack, stroke, sepsis, major trauma or a variety of other things. Bottom line, there is a failure to oxygenate, or failure to ventilate, or both. Treatment and prognosis depends on all of the above. Hope this helps! ...Read more

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What are the tests for respiratory failure?

Depends...: The diagnosis of respiratory failure is typically made on the basis of abgs and the overall clinical picture. But, the cause of the respiratory failure needs to be diagnosed so it can be treated. To diagnose the cause of the respiratory failure requires a diagnostic work-up beginning with a history and physical exam which will then determine the rest of the work-up. ...Read more

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How does shock lead to respiratory failure?

How does shock lead to respiratory failure?

See below: In response to shock, the body secretes many substances, called cytokines, which may be damaging to the lungs causing an acute inflammatory reaction. ...Read more

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So what are the symptoms of respiratory failure?

So what are the symptoms of respiratory failure?

Difficulty breathing: Strictly speaking respiratory failure is when there is 1) failure of the drive to breathe 2)inadequate air flow 3)inadequate transport of oxygen 4) failure of the chest wall and diaphragm 5) lung disease which limits the performance of normal lung functions. Sometimes artificial support with mechanical ventilation can temporarily provide time for the lung to repair. ...Read more

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In what way can shock cause respiratory failure?

What kind???: There are different types of shock so the precise answer depends on the type of shock you are asking about. But, in general, shock results in an inflammatory cascade which can cause respiratory failure mainly due to the build up of acids in the blood. The acids result in the person having to increase their breathing and this can lead to fatigue making ventilator support necessary. ...Read more

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What does it mean when someone has respiratory failure?

What does it mean when someone has respiratory failure?

Two types: The lung does two things, it provides oxygen and eliminates co2. If either fails then that is respiratory failure, and the causes can be many; (pneumonia, severe asthma attack, severe emphysema, heart failure, muscular weakness, lung injusry from fire, drugs, inhalation injry etc.,). Respiratory failure can also be acute or chronic. ...Read more

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Do lots of people get respiratory failure, or is it unusual?

Not unusual...: There are lots of reasons for respiratory failure and some of them are rather common so respiratory failure itself is not all that uncommon, unfortunately! ...Read more

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What are the main symptoms of end stage respiratory failure?

Wide range....: There are a wide range of symptoms depending on if the respiratory failure results in carbon dioxide elevation or just low oxygen levels. Low oxygen levels can cause shortness of breath at rest when end-stage, fatigue, mental status change whereas high carbon dioxide levels can cause confusion, sleepiness. The skin can look blue especially at the fingertips, toes, lips. Coma and death can occur. ...Read more

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How does a respiratory failure differ from a respiratory arrest?

See below: Resp arrest refers to someone who stopped breathing for whatever reason. Resp failure means someone is struggling to breathe and needs support, usually by invasive or non-invasive positive pressure ventilation (cpap/bipap or the respirator). These terms may be interchangeable, i.e. If resp arrest patients are resuscitated, they will be in resp failure, and resp failure may progress to resp arrest. ...Read more

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Does a person with respiratory failure suffer intensely before dying?

Does a person with respiratory failure suffer intensely before dying?

Should not: A patient with respiratory failure is often on a ventilator with a breathing tube in place. Sedation and pain medications are given to help the patient stay comfortable. Sometimes if a dying patient is not on a ventilator, pain medications and sedatives are given even though they may depress breathing more. This may be appropriate as part of palliative care. No one should suffer intensely. ...Read more

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What's the difference between respiratory failure and respiratory arrest?

What's the difference between respiratory failure and respiratory arrest?

Nothing: They are largely undefined terms which can refer to roughly the same thing. Respiratory arrest usually implies you completely stopped breathing, which is rare, but can happen with severe asthma attacks, copd, airway obstruction etc., respiratory failure can be chronic, acute, and caused by dozens if not hundreds of different underlying problems. ...Read more

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What is COPD respiratory failure?

What is COPD respiratory failure?

Lung failure: 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. ...Read more

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What is the treatment for respiratory failure?

What is the treatment for respiratory failure?

Depends...: Respiratory failure results when a person is not able to adequately ventilate themselves. This can be caused by many conditions so part of the treatment is to treat the underlying cause. In the meantime, the patient would likely need oxygen therapy, non-invasive or even invasive artificial ventilation, depending on the severity of the respiratory failure. Abgs would help determine initial therapy. ...Read more

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Is it possible for patients with lou gehrig's disease to die of respiratory failure?

Is it possible for patients with lou gehrig's disease to die of respiratory failure?

Yes: When the disease affects the respiratory muscle causing them to become weak, patients develop respiratory failure and that is one of the most common reasons for death. ...Read more

Dr. Edward Kuhnley
7 Doctors shared insights

Respiratory System (Definition)

The respiratory system consists of all organs in the body related to breathing including the nose, mouth, trachea and lungs. All four of these are ...Read more


Respiratory (Definition)

Pertaining to the work of breathing done by the chest ...Read more