Causes and Diagnoses
Causes and Diagnoses of Respiratory Failure
The causes of respiratory failure include a variety of lung diseases and neuromuscular conditions. Causes include:
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Other obstruction (a tumor or something that’s inhaled)
- Inhaled chemicals
- Brain or spinal cord injury
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Neuromuscular disorder
- Muscular dystrophy
- Obesity hypoventilation
Other risk factors for respiratory failure include:
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Family history of respiratory disease
- Weakened immune system
Diagnosing respiratory failure
A diagnosis of respiratory failure begins with a physical exam and discussion of your symptoms. Other tests may include:
- Spirometry: This test measures the quantity and speed of air you exhale to estimate how much your bronchial tubes are inflamed and narrowed.
- Peak flow meter: This device measures how hard you can exhale. Peak flow meters can be used at home to monitor your condition.
- Arterial blood gas: This blood test checks the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood and measures your blood’s acidity.
- Pulse oximetry: An oximeter measures the amount of oxygen in your blood with a sensor that’s clipped onto your finger.
- Chest X-ray: This test can identify the presence of blockages in the airway.