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Respiratory Acidosis Compensation

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Respiratory Acidosis

Practice Essentials Respiratory acidosis is an acid-base balance disturbance due to alveolar hypoventilation. Production of carbon dioxide occurs rapidly and failure of ventilation promptly increases the partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide (PaCO2). [1] The normal reference range for PaCO2 is 35-45 mm Hg. Alveolar hypoventilation leads to an increased PaCO2 (ie, hypercapnia). The increase in PaCO2, in turn, decreases the bicarbonate (HCO3–)/PaCO2 ratio, thereby decreasing the pH. Hypercapnia and respiratory acidosis ensue when impairment in ventilation occurs and the removal of carbon dioxide by the respiratory system is less than the production of carbon dioxide in the tissues. Lung diseases that cause abnormalities in alveolar gas exchange do not typically result in alveolar hypoventilation. Often these diseases stimulate ventilation and hypocapnia due to reflex receptors and hypoxia. Hypercapnia typically occurs late in the disease process with severe pulmonary disease or when respiratory muscles fatigue. (See also Pediatric Respiratory Acidosis, Metabolic Acidosis, and Pediatric Metabolic Acidosis.) Acute vs chronic respiratory acidosis Respiratory acidosis can be acut Continue reading >>

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