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Respiratory Failure In Sickle Cell

Respiratory failure is the inability of the respiratory system to function properly in sickle cell disease patients during the gaseous exchange. Acute respiratory failure occurs when fluids are seen to have built up in the air sacs in the lungs. 

When this condition happens, the lungs in sickle cell disease patients cannot release oxygen into the blood. Therefore, the organs are deprived of the oxygen needed for them to function. A sickle cell disease patent can also develop acute respiratory failure if the lung is unable to dispel carbon dioxide out of the blood. 

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Photo Credits: Cancer Therapy Advisor

Respiratory failure, in general, happens when the capillaries, or tiny blood vessels, surrounding the air sacs cannot properly exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen. And respiratory failure is either acute or chronic. Types of acute respiratory failure are; hypoxemic and hypercapnic. Hypoxemic respiratory failure means that the patient does not have enough oxygen in their blood, but their carbon dioxide level is nearly close to normal. 

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Photo Credits: Respiratory Care

Hypercapnic respiratory failure means that there is too much carbon dioxide in the blood of the patient and the near-normal but still not enough oxygen in their blood. Symptoms of acute respiratory failure are dependent on its underlying cause. The causes of acute respiratory failure are the level of carbon dioxide and level of oxygen in the blood and acute damage to the lungs. The symptoms of acute respiratory attack that is associated with high carbon dioxide level are; rapid breathing and confusion. 

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Photo Credits: Postgraduate Medical Journal

The symptoms of acute respiratory failure associated with low oxygen levels are; the inability to breathe, and a bluish coloration seen in the skin, fingertips, or lips. Patients with acute failure of the lungs and low oxygen levels show symptoms like; restlessness, anxiety, sleepiness, loss of consciousness, rapid or shallow breathing, racing heart rate, irregular heart rate (arrhythmias), and profuse sweating. 

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Photo Credits: Journal

A physical exam, pulse oximetry device, and an arterial blood gas test, chest X-ray are used to detect acute respiratory symptoms. 

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Photo Credits: Radiopaedia

Content created and supplied by: Dr-Kikiope (via Opera News )

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