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Respir Care. 2001 Apr;46(4):384-91.

Respiratory alkalosis.

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Department of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, USA.


Respiratory alkalosis is an extremely common and complicated problem affecting virtually every organ system in the body. This article reviews the various facets of this interesting problem. Respiratory alkalosis produces multiple metabolic abnormalities, from changes in potassium, phosphate, and calcium, to the development of a mild lactic acidosis. Renal handling of the above ions is also affected. The etiologies may be related to pulmonary or extrapulmonary disorders. Hyperventilation syndrome is a common etiology of respiratory alkalosis in the emergency department setting and is a diagnosis by exclusion. There are many cardiac effects of respiratory alkalosis, such as tachycardia, ventricular and atrial arrhythmias, and ischemic and nonischemic chest pain. In the lungs, vasodilation occurs, and in the gastrointestinal system there are changes in perfusion, motility, and electrolyte handling. Therapeutically, respiratory alkalosis is used for treatment of elevated intracranial pressure. Correction of a respiratory alkalosis is best performed by correcting the underlying etiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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