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Acute respiratory failure - Definition


Respiratory failure is the inability of the respiratory system to ensure proper oxygenation of the blood. It appears as difficulty breathing worsening more or less progressively and the appearance of a bluish coloration of the integument, called cyanosis. Acute respiratory failure is the sudden onset of these symptoms or spontaneous worsening of these signs in the context of the progression of chronic respiratory failure: this is called decompensation. Acute respiratory failure is serious due to the rapid decrease in oxygenation of organs and tissues, which can lead to destruction of the cells. Some neuromuscular diseases affecting the lung, chronic respiratory failure, or decompensation of chronic lung disease can lead to acute respiratory failure. Oxygenation or mechanical ventilation are required.