Respiratory Emergencies | Part One

Extremely common: two categories, acute and chronic, both can present as life threatening.

Respiratory System: filters, warming. Humidifying and exchanging more than 10,000L of air per day (adult).
Upper: mouth, pharynx (nasal ands oral) larynx and vocal cords. respap
Lower: trachea, bronchi, bronchioles and alveoli
Respiration: inspiring O2 and exhaling CO2
Ventilation: exchanging CO2
Diffusion: crossing the capillary/alveolar junction
Perfusion: oxygenated blood pumped out to the tissues

Pathophysiology: problems that affect gas exchange (ventilation)

  • Upper airway obstruction (trauma, epiglottitis, tonsillitis, choking)
  • Lower airway obstruction (trauma, obstructive lung disease, mucus, brochospasm airway edema)
  • Impaired chest movement (trauma, hemothorax, pneumothorax, empyema (pus)
  • Neurological control problems, depressed CNS function, stroke, disease

diffusionDiffusion-Related problems:

  • Low O2 in air
  • Alveolar pathology (COPD, blebs)
  • Interstitial space pathology, high water pressure, edema Perfusion-Related Problems
  • Inadequate blood volume, or hemoglobin levels Impaired circulation
  • Chest wall trauma

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