When is ICU admission indicated for the treatment of hypoventilation syndromes?

Updated: Jul 22, 2021
  • Author: Jazeela Fayyaz, DO; Chief Editor: Guy W Soo Hoo, MD, MPH  more...
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If hypoventilation is severe and leads to respiratory failure, admission to an intensive care unit (ICU) may be required. ICU admission allows for more specialized nursing and respiratory care. Criteria for ICU admission are as follows:

  • Confusion

  • Lethargy

  • Respiratory muscle fatigue

  • Worsening hypoxemia

  • Hypercapnia

  • Respiratory acidosis with a pH of less than 7.3.

All patients requiring immediate tracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation also require ICU admission. Most acute care facilities require that all patients being treated with noninvasive bilevel PPV be admitted to the ICU as well.

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