Respiratory Failure and Assisted Respiration


Respiratory failure is the inability to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the inhaled gas in the lungs. This can be improved by providing mechanical assistance to the ventilation of the lungs.

Keywords: respiratory failure; sleep and respiration; assisted ventilation; tracheostomy ventilation; nasal ventilation

Figure 1.


Figure 2.

Types of respiratory failure.

Figure 3.

Respiratory failure and acid–base changes. Changes in pH and bicarbonate levels (with under‐ and overventilation) and secondary metabolic changes, are shown.

Figure 4.

Nasal mask ventilation.


Further Reading

Bach JR (1995) Pulmonary Rehabilitation. New York: Mosby.

Bach JR, Sortor SM and Saporito LR (1993) Interfaces for non‐invasive intermittent positive pressure ventilatory support in North America. European Respiratory Review 3: 254–259.

Feihl F and Perret C (1994) Permissive hypercapnia – how permissive should we be? American Journal of Respiration and Critical Care Medicine 150: 1722–1737.

Leger P, Jennequin J, Gerard M, Lassonnery S and Robert D (1989) Home positive pressure ventilation via nasal mask for patient with neuromusculoskeletal disorders. European Respiratory Journal 2(supplement 7): 640s–645s.

McNicholas WT (1997) Impact of sleep in respiratory failure. European Respiratory Journal 10: 920–933.

Muir J‐F, Girault C, Cardinaud J‐P and Polu J‐M (1994) Survival and long‐term follow‐up of tracheostomized patients with COPD treated by home mechanical ventilation. A multicenter French study in 259 patients. Chest 106: 201–209.

Shneerson J (1988) Disorders of Ventilation. Oxford: Blackwell Scientific.

Shneerson JM (1991) Non‐invasive and domiciliary ventilation: negative pressure techniques. Thorax 46: 131–135.

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How to Cite close
Shneerson, John(Jan 2003) Respiratory Failure and Assisted Respiration. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0002127]