Acute Respiratory Failure

  • Jarrod M. MosierEmail author


The respiratory system comprises a coordinated set of organs with the goal of eliminating carbon dioxide produced during cellular metabolism (ventilation) and providing adequate oxygen for transport to tissues to perform aerobic metabolism (oxygenation). Acute respiratory failure occurs with any process that either inhibits the ability to provide adequate oxygen (Type I) or maintain adequate blood pH with minute ventilation (Type II). The most clinically significant causes of Type I respiratory failure are ventilation–perfusion mismatch and shunt, both of which represent disturbances in gas exchange across the alveolar–capillary interface. Type II respiratory failure occurs from any decrease in minute ventilation, increase in CO2 production that exceeds the ability to compensate with increased ventilation, or increase in dead space. This chapter reviews the pathophysiology and treatment of acute respiratory failure.


Acute respiratory failure Hypoxemia Hypercapnia Oxygenation Ventilation Mechanical ventilation ARDS Pneumonia COPD Asthma 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Emergency Medicine, Department of MedicineDivision of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care, and Sleep, University of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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