Explained simply, respiratory distress is a condition wherein pulmonary activity is deemed insufficient to regulate oxygen and extract carbon dioxide from the blood. It becomes harder to detect respiratory failures when the patient appears to be breathing, but is actually experiencing agonal breathing. The proper rate and depth of breathing are important factors to consider when evaluating the quality of the person’s breathing. Two main actions involved in breathing are ventilation and oxygenation. Signs and symptoms are listed below for easier diagnosis.
|Is the airway clear?
|Are the muscles
of the chest
|Is the rate of
|Ex. An obstructed
|Ex. Chest muscle
fatigue can occur
|Is oxygen available?
|Is lung blood
|Can gases cross the
|Ex. High altitudes
have low O2
|Ex. Vascular shunts may not send blood
Abnormal breath sounds
|• Upper airway obstruction (foreign body)
|• Upper airway obstruction (Swollen airway)
• Pneumonia (grunting to recruit alveoli)
|• Lower airway obstruction (Asthma)
|• Fluid in lungs (Wet), Atelectasis (Dry)
|• Collapsed lung (air, blood)
• Lung tissue disease (pneumonia)
Sounds in breathing may provide information about the respiratory problem.
Causes of Respiratory Distress/Failure
Upper airway, lower airway, lung tissue disease, and central nervous systems (CNS) issues are the main categories of respiratory failure. The list provided inis not comprehensive, with specialized conditions requiring extensive treatment, but these broad categories reflect the usual causes of respiratory distress or failure among children and infants.
|LUNG TISSUE DISEASE