When to anticipate respiratory failure

When to anticipate respiratory failure? 

Consider respiratory failure when there is:

  • • An increased respiratory rate, particularly with signs of distress (e.g., increased respiratory effort including nasal flaring, retractions, seesaw breathing, or grunting)
  • • An inadequate respiratory rate, effort, or chest excursion (e.g., diminished breath sounds or gasping), especially if mental status is depressed
  • • Cyanosis with abnormal breathing despite supplementary oxygen


American Heart Association: 2010 Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Part 14: Pediatric Advanced Life Support. Circulation 2010;122(18):877.


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