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First Aid 2023

Respiratory arrestória: symptoms, causes and what to do

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Respiratory arrestória: symptoms, causes and what to do
Respiratory arrestória: symptoms, causes and what to do

Respiratory arrest corresponds to the interruption of gas exchange in the body for more than 5 minutes, that is, there is no distribution of oxygen to the organs of the body during this period, which can result in irreversible damage to vital organs, such as the heart and brain, for example.

It is common that as a consequence of respiratory arrest, there is a cardiac arrest, characterizing cardiorespiratory arrest. Know how to identify cardiorespiratory arrest and see what to do.

Respiratory arrest is a medical emergency and, therefore, it is recommended that mouth-to-mouth respiration be performed initially, in addition to triggering the SAMU so that the necessary measures are taken, which may involve clearing the airways or mechanical ventilation.


Symptoms of respiratory arrest

The main sign indicative of respiratory arrest is the absence of movements in the chest during inspiration and expiration. In addition, other signs and symptoms that may be indicative of respiratory arrest are:

  • Unconsciousness;
  • Purple face;
  • Blue tongue and nails.
  • No air coming out of the nostrils;
  • Immobility.

It is important that in the presence of signs and symptoms indicative of respiratory arrest, supportive measures are quickly initiated, which usually involve the performance of artificial respiration, such as mouth-to-mouth or mouth-to-nose resuscitation, and contact with SAMU so that the most appropriate treatment can be initiated.

Main causes

Respiratory arrest can be a consequence of obstruction of the lower or upper airways, due to loss of muscle tone, which causes the tongue to move to the oropharynx and cause obstruction, or be due to the presence of blood, mucus, vomit or foreign body.

Furthermore, respiratory arrest may be a consequence of inhaling vapors or gases, adverse drug effects, nervous system diseases, such as stroke or tumor, or metabolic alterations, for example.

This situation can also happen when there are changes in the respiratory muscles due to diseases, such as myasthenia gravis, botulism or Guillain-Barré syndrome, for example.

What to do

To identify respiratory arrest, it is necessary to call the victim and check if the person is breathing, placing an ear next to the nose and mouth and looking towards the victim's chest.

If you don't feel air coming out of your nose and mouth, you don't hear breathing and you don't see your chest moving, you should call medical help immediately and, if possible, start artificial respiration, which can be mouth-to-mouth or nose-to-mouth resuscitation, which is more suitable for children.

To perform mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, it is important to lay the person on their back, tilt their head, lift their chin, and cover the person's nostrils. Then, place your lips around the victim's lips, inhale naturally, and then blow the air into the person's mouth. See in more detail how to do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

In addition, after the team arrives or after the person arrives at the he alth service, more appropriate procedures can be initiated to reverse respiratory arrest, which may involve clearing the airways and performing mechanical ventilation.

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