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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes loss of breathing while suffering from COPD?

A patient was admitted to the hospital with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. His PO2 was 55 and PCO2 was 65. A new resident orders 54% oxygen via the venturi mask. One hour later, after the oxygen was placed, the nurse finds the patient with no respiration or pulse. She calls for a Code Blue and begins cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Explain why the patient stopped breathing.
Tue, 27 Feb 2018
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Pulmonologist 's  Response

We all have a respiratory center in our brain. This center regulates out breathing. This center works under the influence of oxygen and carbon dioxide percentage of the body. In COPD patients, this center works under low oxygen percentage.

Actually low oxygen (hypoxia) is helping the brain to send messages regarding breathing. When COPD patients receive high flow oxygen, this hypoxic central drive abolishes, and so the function of the respiratory center is hampered, and hence patient stopped breathing. So never give high flow oxygen to COPD patients. Try to maintain their oxygen saturation around 88-90%.

Hope I have answered your query. Let me know if I can assist you further.

Dr. Kaushal Bhavsar
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