What causes hypoxia after intubation in mechanical ventilation?

Updated: Apr 07, 2020
  • Author: Allon Amitai, MD; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Hypoxia after intubation may occur secondary to hypoventilation, worsening cardiac shunting, inadequate FiO2, mainstem intubation, aspiration, tube dislodgement, or pulmonary edema. The causes of high airway pressures and low exhaled volumes described above can result in hypoxia if they cause hypoventilation. Despite the use of numerous safety precautions, cases are occasionally documented of ventilators being connected to compressed air or nitrous oxide rather than oxygen. Increasing FiO2 and adjusting ventilatory settings to increase PEEP or respiratory rate are useful first steps after excluding equipment failure and mechanical causes of hypoxia.

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