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Definition of Respiratory depression

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Respiratory depression: another term for hypoventilation, meaning that ventilation of the lungs is inadequate to perform needed gas exchange. Sometimes a respiratory rate of fewer than 12 breaths per minute is used as a definition of respiratory depression. Hypoventilation leads to an increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood (hypercapnia) and respiratory acidosis (a decrease in blood pH). Respiratory depression can result from a number of different disease processes. It can also be a side effect of medications, such as opioid pain medications and sedatives.

QUESTION

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is the same as adult-onset asthma. See Answer

Kasper, D., et al., eds. "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed." United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2015.

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