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Chronic Respiratory Failure

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is chronic respiratory failure (CRF)?

CRF is a long-term condition that happens when your lungs cannot get enough oxygen into your blood. CRF can also happen when your lungs cannot get the carbon dioxide out of your blood. A buildup of carbon dioxide in your blood can cause damage to your organs. The decrease in oxygen and the buildup of carbon dioxide can happen at the same time. CRF may develop over a period of days to years.

The Lungs

What causes CRF?

What are the signs and symptoms of CRF?

How is CRF diagnosed?

How is CRF treated?

Treatment depends on the cause and how severe it is. You may need any of the following:

What can I do to manage or prevent shortness of breath?

How do I manage CRF?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US), or have someone close to you watch and call if:

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Treatment options

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.