- Hypopnea: the breathing is too shallow
- Bradypnea: the breathing is too slow
- Diminished lung function
Whilst either slow or shallow breathing may occur with hypoventilation, the rate
or depth of breathing is not diagnostic, since hypoventilation, by definition,
occurs if there is an increase in carbon dioxide levels.
If the body
retains too much carbon dioxide, due to impaired respiratory function, the body’s
pH drops and become more acidic, creating Respiratory Acidosis.
hypoventilation exists when the arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide
(PaCO2) exceeds the normal upper limit of 43 mmHg.
- Cyanosis secondary to hypoxaemia
- Impairment of sleep due to nocturnal hypercapnia
- Morning fatigue and headaches
- Mental confusion
- Chronic hypercapnia
- Excessive opiate analgesics
- Insufficient analgesia
- Inadequate reversal of muscle relaxants
If left untreated, cyanosis, polycythemia, pulmonary hypertension, and
congestive heart failure may occur.