What is the role of the ventilation-to-perfusion ratio (V/Q) in the pathophysiology of 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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Answer

V/Q mismatch is the most common cause of hypoxemia. Alveolar units may vary from low-V/Q to high-V/Q in the presence of a disease process. The low-V/Q units contribute to hypoxemia and hypercapnia, whereas the high-V/Q units waste ventilation but do not affect gas exchange unless the abnormality is quite severe.


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