Pulmonary management

The airway may be compromised because of the decreased level of consciousness. Hyperventilation leading to respiratory alkalosis is a characteristic feature of hepatic encephalopathy. In the majority of patients who require endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation, the indication is airway management and treatment of cerebral edema. However, hypoxemia is the indication for ventilation in approximately one-third of patients. Complications of coma, such as bronchopneumonia, aspiration, or atelectasis, are the usual causes.

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