Accumulation of CO2 combines with water in body to produce carbonic acid which lowers blood pH. Any condition that can cause hypoventilation can be responsible:
-CNS depression due to head injury, narcotics, sedatives, or anesthesia
-Impaired resp muscle function r/t spinal cord injury, neuromuscular diseases, or neuromuscular blocking drugs.
-Pulmonary d/o ie, atelectasis, pneumonia, pulmonary edema, bronchial obstruction
-massive pulmonary embolus
-Hypoventilation due to pain, chest wall injury/ deformity, abdominal distension.
Excessive loss of CO2
-psychological responses, ie anxiety or fear, pain, salicylate toxicity, mechanical ventilation
-high altitudes, shock, early-stage acute pulmonary problems
-increased metabolic demands, ie fever, sepsis, pregnancy, or thyrotoxicosis
-mediations, such as respiratory stimulants
Pulmonary s/s - dyspnea, rapid, shallow respirations
Skin- cyanotic, pallor
Nervous system s/s - headache, restlessness, confusion, may progress to drowsiness and unresponsiveness if CO2 levels are too high.
Cardio s/s - tachycardia, dysrhythmias, high bp, increased cardiac output
Other: headache, muscle weakness, disorientation, hyperkalemia, hypoxia
Nervous system s/s - light-headedness, numbness, tingling, confusion, inability to concentrate, blurred vision
Cardiac s/s - dysrythmias and palpitations
Respiratory s/s - increased work of breathing, deep, rapid breathing, hyperventilation.
Additional s/s - dry mouth, diaphoresis, tetanic spasms
of arms and legs, seizures.
Nervous system s/s - headache, confusion, changes in LOC, disorientation, restlessness, lethargy, then stupor or coma.
Cardiac s/s - dysrhythmias
Respiratory s/s -
-deep, gasping, air-hungry
-effort to compensate for pH by blowing off more CO2
Additional s/s - warm, flushed skin, nausea/vomiting, muscle twitching, hyperkalemia