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Welcome to the lesson on Recognizing Respiratory Distress or Failure. In this video, we will discuss what respiratory distress or failure is and how to recognize them.

Respiratory distress is a condition in which pulmonary activity is insufficient to bring oxygen and to remove carbon dioxide from the blood. Challenge arises with the recognition of respiratory distress when the individual appears to be breathing, but is not actually breathing effectively. Proper rate and depth of breathing is important to assess when evaluating whether the
person is effectively breathing. The two main actions involved in breathing are ventilation and oxygenation, signs, and symptoms of which you can review in your corresponding PALS manual in the table in Figure 11.

If the individual is in respiratory distress, their airway will open without support. Other signs and symptoms include tachypnea, increased respiratory effort, clear lung sounds, tachycardia, agitation, and pale and variable.

If the individual is in respiratory failure, the airway could be possibly obstructed. Other signs and symptoms include slow breathing or no breathing effort, abnormal lung sounds, bradycardia, failure to respond, and cyanotic and variable.

In some instances, breath sounds can provide information about the source of the breathing problem. Abnormal breath sounds include stridor, grunting, wheezing, crackles, and absent/decreased breath sounds. For information on the source of breathing problem associated with each breath sound, consult Table 11 in your corresponding PALS manual.

This concludes our lesson on Recognizing Respiratory Distress or Failure. Next, we will review Causes of Respiratory Distress or Failure.

Welcome to the lesson on Causes of Respiratory Distress or Failure. In this video, we will discuss the causes of respiratory distress or failure.

Respiratory distress or failure generally falls into one of the four broad categories, including upper airway, lower airway, lung tissue disease, and central nervous system, or CNS, issues.

In the upper airway, distress or failure can be caused by croup (or swelling), foreign body, retropharyngeal abscess, and/or anaphylaxis.

In the lower airway, distress or failure can be caused by bronchiolitis and/or asthma.

The lung tissue disease can be caused by pneumonia, pneumonitis, and/or pulmonary edema.

CNS issues can be caused by overdosing and/or head trauma.

This list is not comprehensive, and specific conditions should be addressed with specific therapy. However, this list represents the most common causes of respiratory distress or failure in pediatrics.

This concludes our lesson on Causes of Respiratory Distress or Failure. Next, we will review Responding to Respiratory Distress or Failure.

Welcome to the lesson on Responding to Respiratory Distress of Failure. In this video, we will discuss management of respiratory distress or failure regarding airway, breathing, and circulation.

Initial management of respiratory distress or failure includes opening and supporting the airway, suctioning, and considering advanced airway. Management of breathing includes monitoring oxygen stats, getting supplemental oxygen, and nebulizers. Management of circulation involves monitoring vital signs and establishing vascular access.

PALS management of respiratory distress or failure is adjusted based on the severity of the current condition. For example, mild asthma is treated with bronchodilator inhalers, but severe asthma (or status asthmaticus) may require ET intubation. As a provider, you must continually assess the individual’s current needs and adjust care accordingly.

For further information on responding to respiratory distress or failure, refer to Table 14 in your corresponding PALS manual that describes treatments for upper airway, lower airway, lung tissue disease, and CNS issues.

This concludes our lesson on Responding to Respiratory Distress or Failure. Next, we will review Recognizing Bradycardia.