Fast Five Quiz: Are You Prepared to Confront Respiratory Failure?

Ata Murat Kaynar, MD


November 16, 2015

Respiratory failure may be associated with a variety of clinical manifestations. However, these are nonspecific, and very significant respiratory failure may be present without dramatic signs or symptoms. This emphasizes the importance of measuring arterial blood gases in all patients who are seriously ill or in whom respiratory failure is suspected.

Chest x-ray is essential. Echocardiography is not routinely done but is sometimes useful. Pulmonary functions tests, if feasible, may be helpful. Electrocardiography should be performed to evaluate the possibility of a cardiovascular cause of respiratory failure; it also may detect dysrhythmias resulting from severe hypoxemia or acidosis. Right-sided heart catheterization is controversial.

For more on the workup of respiratory failure, read here.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.