Ventilatory Failure: An Overview

  • D. F. Rochester
Part of the Update in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine book series (UICM, volume 15)


Ventilatory failure is defined as a state or condition in which the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in arterial blood (PaCO2) is consistently elevated. It is generally accepted that the normal range of PaCO2 is 35 to 45 torr, in the awake subject at or near sea level. Therefore, one would not make a diagnosis of ventilatory failure unless the PaCO2 were consistently above 45 torr. The acceptable upper limit of PaCO2 might be higher during sleep, and lower if the person lived at altitude. Another way to think about ventilatory failure is to consider how much effort is required to maintain a normal, metabolically appropriate PaCO2. Thus, a state of ventilatory failure can also be said to exist if a patient can maintain an acceptable PaCO2 only with extreme dyspnea, or with mechanical ventilatory assistance.


Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Obstructive Sleep Apnea Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patient Acute Respiratory Failure Respiratory Muscle 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

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  • D. F. Rochester

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