What is included in the workup of suspected respiratory failure?

Updated: Apr 07, 2020
  • Author: Ata Murat Kaynar, MD; Chief Editor: Michael R Pinsky, MD, CM, Dr(HC), FCCP, FAPS, MCCM  more...
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Arterial blood gases should be evaluated in all patients who are seriously ill or in whom respiratory failure is suspected. Chest radiography is essential. Echocardiography is not routine but is sometimes useful. Pulmonary functions tests (PFTs) may be helpful. Electrocardiography (ECG) should be performed to assess the possibility of a cardiovascular cause of respiratory failure; it also may detect dysrhythmias resulting from severe hypoxemia or acidosis. Right-sided heart catheterization is controversial (see Workup).

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