Respiratory depression (hypoventilation) occurs when ventilation is inadequate to perform needed respiratory gas exchange. It causes an increased concentration of carbon dioxide and respiratory acidosis.
Respiratory depression is not equal to respiratory arrest, in which breathing ceases entirely and death occurs within minutes due to hypoxia progressing to anoxia.
Its lethality is attributed to hypoxia with carbon dioxide toxicity.
Some common causes:
• Stroke affecting the brainstem
• Medication or drugs, in particular typically opioids (i.e., oxycodone, hydromorphone) and benzodiazepines (i.e., lorazepam, alprazolam)
See reference for more information.
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Internet. Accessed on July 15, 2022. Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoventilation