Respiratory Failure

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The term respiratory failure, in medicine, is used to describe inadequate gas exchange by the respiratory system, with the result that arterial oxygen and/or carbon dioxide levels cannot be maintained within their normal ranges. A drop in blood oxygenation is known as hypoxemia; a rise in arterial carbon dioxide levels is called hypercapnia. The normal reference values are: oxygen PaO2 greater than 80 mmHg (11 kPa), and carbon dioxide PaCO2 less than 45 mmHg (6.0 kPa). Classification into type I or type II relates to the absence or presence of hypercapnia respectively.

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