Pediatric Respiratory Failure

pediatric respiratory failure

One of the scariest experiences for any parent is to see their child have breathing difficulties. You want the world to stop immediately and find a solution for your babyAnd, while the experience can be terrifying, sometimes it can take a while for you to recognize signs of pediatric respiratory failure. What are the symptoms? What can you do to provide your child with the best treatment? And, what causes it in the first place?

What is pediatric respiratory failure?

Pediatric respiratory failure occurs when a child’s respiratory system fails to eliminate carbon dioxide from oxygen — or to take adequate oxygenation in the first place. It’s one of the main reasons children are admitted to intensive care units.

There are two types of respiratory failure. Acute failure comes and goes quickly (such as after a near-drowning experience), while chronic respiratory failure is often the result of an underlying medical condition — such as cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, COVID-19, scoliosis, or spinal cord injuries. It can also be the result of inhaling harmful fumes.

Although the condition can be life-threatening if not attended to promptly, many children who receive treatment fully recover and have no additional consequences from the episode. And, they’re also unlikely to experience the condition again.

Causes of Pediatric Respiratory Failure

The most common causes of pediatric respiratory failure are viral and/or bacterial infections, as well as asthma. If the root cause is an infection, the body is exhausted of its oxygen stores — especially if the infection affects the blood or respiratory system.

Respiratory failure is also more likely to occur in infants and young children, since their respiratory systems are not yet fully developed. The risk is even higher if the condition is caused by trauma — such as a fall or car accident — that directly injured the lungs or the portion of the brain that controls breathing.

Signs and Symptoms of Pediatric Respiratory Failure

The symptoms of pediatric respiratory failure may vary from one child to the next, depending on the severity of the condition. However, the most common ones include:

  • Rapid or labored breathing, shortness of breath / difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Profuse sweating
  • Bluish tint to the skin, lips, and/or fingernails
  • Low blood pressure
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Confusion

Diagnosis and Treatment for Pediatric Respiratory Failure

If your child is showing signs of respiratory failure, seek medical care immediately. To confirm a diagnosis, the pediatrician will measure your child’s oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood by conducting what’s called an arterial blood gas test. Your child may also need to get chest x-rays and use a pulse oximeter. Be prepared to answer detailed questions about your child’s medical history, as it may be relevant to the current breathing difficulties.

The treatment for pediatric respiratory failure will depend on what’s causing it in the first place. It could include one or more of the following:

In some instances, getting oxygen therapy is enough to make your child feel better. However, if respiratory failure continues, your child may need an inhaler, intravenous medications, antibiotics, and possibly a stay at the intensive care unit. The stay at the ICU will depend on whether your child has an underlying infection that needs to fully clear. Your child may then have to remain at the hospital for several days afterward to monitor their breathing.

Contact Sonas for Home Health Care in Florida

It can be hard to balance your time between work, home, and caring for a child. That’s why our team of skilled professionals at Sonas Home Health Care is here to help.

Our home health care services offer support in the comfort of your home. We refer loving and competent nurses to provide customized care for families — from a few hours a day to around-the-clock supervision. Contact us directly to speak with a home health care professional or request a free in-home assessment. Together we can determine the best plan of action to keep your loved ones happy and healthy.

If you or a loved one are considering Pediatric Home Health Care Services in Florida, contact the caring staff at Sonas Home Health Care. Call today at (888) 592-5855.