QS Study

Respiratory Acidosis and Alkalosis

Respiratory Acidosis: A rise in arterial PCO2 leads to fall of pH is called respiratory acidosis. It is a situation that occurs when the lungs can’t eliminate sufficient of the carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by the body.


  • Respiratory obstruction.
  • Congestive heart failure.
  • Depression of the nervous system.

Compensation: Compensated by the renal system (Kidney)

Symptoms: Initial signs of acute respiratory acidosis include: Headache, blurred vision, confusion, lethargy, shortness of breath etc.

Fig: respiratory acidosis alkalosis chart

Respiratory alkalosis: Increase pH due to a decrease in arterial PCO2 is called respiratory acidosis. It occurs when the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the blood are not balanced.


  • Voluntary hyperventilation.
  • Lobar pneumonia, pulmonary cambiums.
  • Meningitis, encephalitis.
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Compensation: Compensated by renal system.


Over breathing is a sign that respiratory alkalosis is possible to develop. However, low carbon dioxide levels in the blood also have a number of physical effects, including dizziness, feeling lightheaded, discomfort in the chest area, dry mouth, heart palpitations etc.