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Encyclopedia > Respiratory depression

In medicine, hypoventilation exists when ventilation is inadequate to perform gas exchange. It generally causes increased carbon dioxide concentration (hypercapnia) and respiratory acidosis. It can be caused by medical conditions, or by holding the breath.


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Respiratory Depression (545 words)
Occasionally, respiratory depression occurs when pain is abruptly relieved and the sedative effects of opioids are no longer opposed by the stimulating effects of pain.
Far more common than acute respiratory depression is subacute overdose, in which sedation gradually builds and is followed by a slowing of respiratory rate and then by ventilatory failure.
Respiratory depression is not often a significant limiting factor in pain management because, with repeated doses, tolerance develops to this effect, allowing for adequate pain treatment with escalating doses without respiratory compromise.
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