QS Study

Respiratory Insufficiency

Any types of abnormalities in normal rate and depth (a function of) of respiration, is called respiratory insufficiency. It is the situation in which the lungs cannot take in enough oxygen or expel adequate carbon dioxide to meet the needs of the cells of the body. It can happen if your lungs can’t appropriately eliminate carbon dioxide from your blood. Too much carbon dioxide in your blood can damage your body’s organs.

Causes of this insufficiency:

  • Inadequate ventilation.
  • Reduce gaseous diffusion through a respiratory membrane.
  • Abnormal ventilation-perfusion ratio.
  • Neuromuscular diseases.
  • Intrinsic pulmonary disorders.


The two types of acute and chronic respiratory insufficiency are hypoxemic and hypercapnic. Both circumstances can cause severe difficulties.

Hypoxemic respiratory insufficiency means that you don’t have sufficient oxygen in your blood, but your levels of carbon dioxide are close to normal. Hypercapnic respiratory insufficiency means that there’s too much carbon dioxide in your blood, and near normal or not sufficient oxygen in your blood.