Hypoventilation occurs when there is inadequate ventilation to perform gas exchange. This leads to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood and respiratory acidosis.
Primary respiratory acidosis is defined as carbon dioxide levels above 45 in the blood.
Barbiturates are drugs that depress the central nervous system by increasing the duration of chloride channel opening and thus decreasing neuron firing. These drugs can depress the central respiratory center of the brain leading to alveolar hypoventilation and respiratory acidosis.
Opioids can depress the central respiratory center of the brain leading to alveolar hypoventilation and respiratory acidosis.
Airway obstruction can disrupt gas exchange, leading to increased levels of carbon dioxide in the blood. Obstructive disorders like asthma and COPD are associated with respiratory acidosis. Hypoventilation in COPD involves several mechanism including ventilation-perfusion mismatching which leads to increased dead space ventilation.
Neuromuscular disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and Guillain Barre can decrease the ability of the lungs to perform gas exchange, leading to buildup of carbon dioxide in the blood.
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