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Respiratory failure

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 > 60 mmHg, and carbon dioxide PaCO2 < 45 mmHg. Classification into type I or type II relates to the absence or presence of hypercapnia respectively. (Values in kPa being PO2 below 8kPA and PCO2 above 6.7 kPa

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