Respiratory Acidosis: Low Arterial Blood pH with Increased Arterial pCO2 and Arterial H2CO3- Increased

Differential Diagnosis

Neuromuscular disorders that decrease breathing, as produced by brain stem injury, myasthenia gravis, and poliomyelitis

If sufficiently severe, multiple non-neuromuscular causes of impaired ventilation, perfusion, or gas diffusion produced by embolism, infection, selected cancers, asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema.

Suggested Additional Lab Testing

Serial blood gases to assess arterial pH, arterial pco2 and arterial h2co3 are important to determine the severity and progression of disorders producing respiratory acidosis.

Clinical Considerations

Any neuromuscular disorder or non-neuromuscular disorder leading to respiratory acidosis must be specifically identified from clinical signs and symptoms and other diagnostic tests.

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