Acute respiratory failure is a health condition that emanates from dysfunction of the lung or impaired function of the respiratory muscle pump. The state is triggered by the build-up of fluids in the air sacs, limiting oxygen supply into the blood. As a result, the body organs are deprived of oxygen-rich blood crucial for their effective functioning. An individual may also develop acute respiratory failure if the lung fails to remove carbon(iv)oxide from blood. Research has also established that acute respiratory failure occurs when the blood capillaries surrounding the air sacs cannot effectively exchange carbon(iv)oxide for oxygen.
The two major types of acute respiratory failure exist hypoxemic and hypercapnia, where hypoxemic is characterized by insufficient oxygen in blood with carbon(iv)oxide level close to normal as outlined by Azoulay et al. (2017). Hypercapnia is characterized by excessive carbon(iv)oxide in the blood and near normal or inadequate oxygen. The purpose of the paper is to address the pathophysiology of acute respiratory failure, different methods for assessing the patients, medical management of the patients, and a plan of care for patients.
The pathophysiology of Acute Respiratory Failure
Acute respiratory failure is influenced by ineffective functioning of the respiratory system components, based on a study by Scala and Heunks (2018). For instance, lack of inadequate oxygen into the lungs results in acute respiratory failure. Insufficient supply of oxygen into the lungs may be caused by obstruction when something lodges in the throat resulting in the limited supply of oxygen to the lungs. Individuals suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may also experience obstruction when an exacerbation influences the narrowing of the airways. Narrowed airways limit the supply of sufficient oxygen into the lungs resulting in acute respiratory failure. Acute respiratory failure is also caused by impaired function of the respiratory muscle pump due to injury. The outcome is a limited supply of oxygen into the blood resulting in hypoxemic acute respiratory failure. Acute respiratory failure may also be caused by inhalation of toxic chemicals, smoke, or fumes. These chemicals injure or damage the lung tissues, including the capillaries and air sacs, preventing adequate oxygen into the blood.
Methods for assessing the patient with Acute Respiratory Failure
The health practitioner can utilize various approaches in the assessment of the patient with acute respiratory failure. Imaging can be utilized through chest X-ray, which plays a significant role in revealing the affected parts of the lungs, as elucidated by Scala and Heunks (2018). The X-ray can reveal whether the air sacs are filled with fluids which results in acute respiratory failure. The health practitioner can also utilize computerized tomography to capture images providing detailed information about the lungs.
A thorough physical examination of the patient can also help the health practitioner ascertain whether an individual has an acute respiratory failure or not (Friedman & Nitu, 2018). Individuals may exhibit a pale skin color, and central cyanosis may be depicted among the patients. Vasodilation due to high carbon(iv)oxide levels makes hypercapnic patients appear flushed. Patients with acute respiratory failure tend to assume specific postures like sitting forward with hunched shoulders to maximize the expansion of the lungs.
Medical management of the patient with Acute Respiratory Failure
The initial objective in treating acute respiratory failure is to improve the oxygen levels in the blood. The health practitioner can get more oxygen into the patient’s bloodstream using supplemental oxygen and mechanical ventilation, according to Morris et al. (2016). Supplemental oxygen entails delivering oxygen to the patient’s lungs through a tight mask over the nose and mouth. Oxygen can also be channeled to the patient’s lungs through mechanical ventilation, where a machine is used to help the patient breathe. The machine plays a significant role in pushing air into the lungs, forcing some fluid out of the air sacs (Faverio et al., 2018). The doctor can administer medication to minimize gastric reflux, relieve pain and discomfort, prevent blood clots in the legs and lungs and treat various infections. The patient should cease smoking to avoid lung damage, and vaccination is also crucial to prevent lung infections.
A plan of care for a patient with Acute Respiratory Failure
The patient should quit smoking, and rehabilitation can be crucial for addicts. The individual should consume twenty to thirty grams of fiber per day. The patient should consume bread, vegetables, pasta, fruits, seeds, and nuts. The patient should also adhere to the diet with a rich source of proteins, such as dried beans, milk, cheese, meat, egg, and fish, crucial for respiratory solid muscles. Regular physical exercise is also crucial because it enhances smooth blood flow in the body.
In conclusion, acute respiratory failure can be detrimental, and death is imminent if adequate care is not taken. The patient should visit the healthcare facility on time once he or she suspects to be developing symptoms related to acute respiratory failure. The patient should adhere to prescribed medication to achieve the desired health outcome. Collaboration between the patients and the health care practitioners is crucial for the coordination of care.
Azoulay, E., Pickkers, P., Soares, M., Perner, A., Rello, J., Bauer, P. R., van de Louw, A., Hemelaar, P., Lemiale, V., Taccone, F. S., Martin Loeches, I., Meyerhoff, T. S., Salluh, J., Schellongowski, P., Rusinova, K., Terzi, N., Mehta, S., Antonelli, M., Kouatchet, A., Barratt-Due, A., Efraim investigators and the Nine-I study group (2017). Acute hypoxemic respiratory failure in immunocompromised patients: The Efraim multinational prospective cohort study. Intensive Care Medicine, 43(12), 1808–1819.
Faverio, P., De Giacomi, F., Sardella, L., Fiorentino, G., Carone, M., Salerno, F., Ora, J., Rogliani, P., Pellegrino, G., Sferrazza Papa, G. F., Bini, F., Bodini, B. D., Messinesi, G., Pesci, A., & Esquinas, A. (2018). Management of acute respiratory failure in interstitial lung diseases: Overview and Clinical Insights. BMC Pulmonary medicine, 18(1), 70.
Friedman, M. L., & Nitu, M. E. (2018). Acute respiratory failure in children. Pediatric Annals, 47(7), e268–e273.
Morris, P. E., Berry, M. J., Files, D. C., Thompson, J. C., Hauser, J., Flores, L., Dhar, S., Chmelo, E., Lovato, J., Case, L. D., Bakhru, R. N., Sarwal, A., Parry, S. M., Campbell, P., Mote, A., Winkelman, C., Hite, R. D., Nicklas, B., Chatterjee, A., & Young, M. P. (2016). Standardized rehabilitation and hospital length of stay among patients with acute respiratory failure: A randomized clinical trial. JAMA, 315(24), 2694–2702.
Scala, R., & Heunks, L. (2018). Highlights in acute respiratory failure. European respiratory review: an official journal of the European Respiratory Society, 27(147), 180008.