Respiratory Failure Treatments

Treatment for respiratory failure often depends on its underlying cause. In all cases, stopping smoking is a priority, if you are a smoker.

Other treatments include:

  • Medications to minimize airway obstruction: Bronchodilators and other inhaled medications can help open the airways for easier inhaling and exhaling.
  • Supplemental oxygen: Home-based or portable oxygen therapy can be necessary for those whose oxygen levels fall too low.
  • Noninvasive ventilation: This refers to a mixture of air and oxygen support delivered through a nasal cannula, nose mask or facemask rather than a tracheostomy tube in the throat.
  • Mechanical ventilation: This helps patients breathe through an intubation tube or tracheostomy tube inserted in the throat.


  • Medications