Paradoxical Respirations

What are paradoxical respirations? Why do they occur? 

Infants who have increased airway resistance generate high negative intrathoracic pressures to inflate their lungs. As the diaphragm moves downward and the intrathoracic pressure becomes negative, the soft, cartilaginous bones and weak intercostal musculature cannot maintain the thoracic circumference. As the abdomen moves outward, the infant’s compliant chest may collapse inward (rather than the normal expansion) on inspiration, hence the terms paradoxical respirations thoracoabdominal asynchrony , or seesaw breathing . Paradoxical respirations are often a sign of impending respiratory failure.


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