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Respiratory Exam
 
 

Patterns of Breathing

 
 
 
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Overview

Watch the patient's pattern of breathing, taking into account the rate, regularity and depth of respiration. Specific patterns of breathing may suggest an underlying pathology.

Cheyne-Stokes Respiration

  • Look For

  • Periods of hyperventilation interspersed with periods of apnoea or bradypnoea.
  • Significance

  • Cheyne-Stokes respiration occurs when hyperventilation lowers the arterial CO₂ below the apnoeic threshold.
  • Causes of Cheyne-Stokes Respiration

  • Physiological - at high altitudes
  • Obstructive sleep apnoea
  • Congestive cardiac failure
  • CNS - stroke, traumatic brain injury, tumour

Kussmaul Respiration

Kussmaul breathing is a deep, rapid, laboured type of breathing that is associated with severe metabolic acidosis - especially diabetic ketoacidosis.
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