What happens to the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) as acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) progresses?

Updated: Mar 27, 2020
  • Author: Eloise M Harman, MD; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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As the condition progresses and the work of breathing increases, the partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2) begins to rise and respiratory alkalosis gives way to respiratory acidosis. Patients on mechanical ventilation for ARDS may be allowed to remain hypercapnic (permissive hypercapnia) to achieve the goals of low tidal volume and limited plateau pressure ventilator strategies aimed at limiting ventilator-associated lung injury.

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