Respiratory Diseases

Mechanical ventilation is often delivered to patients with respiratory failure from a variety of respiratory diseases.  Respiratory diseases can be classified as either obstructive or restrictive in nature.  Obstructive respiratory disease is a condition that results in difficulty exhaling all the air from the lungs.  Those with restrictive lung disease have difficulty  fully expanding their lungs.  

Obstructive Lung Disease

Obstructive lung disease is characterized by airway obstructive.  Many of the obstructive airway diseases 

Obstructive lung diseases include:

  •  Chronic obstructive airway disease (COPD) which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Cystic fibrosis. 

Restrictive Lung Disease

Restrictive lung disease is characterized by restriction.  Individuals with restrictive lung disease have difficulty fully expanding their lungs with air.  It most often results from conditions that cause stiffness in the lungs themselves.  It can also be caused by stiffness in the chest wall, weak muscles or damaged nerves. 

Restrictive lung diseases include:

  •  Interstitial lung disease such as pulmonary fibrosis
  •  Sarcoidosis
  • Obesity hypoventilation syndrome
  • Scoliosis
  • Neuromuscular diseases, such as Amyotropic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Muscular Dystrophy.  
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