Respiratory alkalosis

Secondary to alveolar hyperventilation.

Alveolar hyperventilation decreases PCO2.

Decrease in PCO2 increases the ratio of bicarbonate concentration to PCO2 and increases the pH level.

Decreased PCO2, hypocapnia, occurs when a respiratory stimulus causes the lung to remove more carbon dioxide than is produced metabolically in the body.

May be acute or chronic: in both processes the level of PCO2 is decreased but in acute disease the serum pH is alkalemic, while in chronic disease the pH is near normal or normal.

Most common acid base abnormality in critically ill patients.

Commonly associated with mechanical ventilation.

May be associated with cardiac and pulmonary disorders.

Carbon dioxide diffuses more easily through an aqueous environment than does oxygen.

PCO2 is maintained at a level that ensures hydrogen ion concentration remains in the narrow limits required for optimal protein function.

Respiratory alkalosis leads to changes in the way the nervous system fires and leads to the paresthesia, dizziness, and perceptual changes that often accompany hyperventilation.

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