What is Respiratory Failure?
Respiratory failure is, by definition, a failure of gas exchange. There are two types:
Type 1 is hypoxaemia with a normal or low PaCO2 which usually presents clinically with tachypnoea and respiratory distress, and may be identified by abnormal vital signs including low oxygen saturation.
Type 2 is hypoxaemia with a high PaCO2 and may, again, present with respiratory distress. However, if hypercapnia is significant, reduced conscious level may be the mode of presentation.