Reduction of ventilatory demands

Hypoxemia is a major stimulus to increasing ventilatory demands. This effect can be minimized or eliminated by supplementary oxygen. Normalizing blood oxygen, detected in the peripheral chemoreceptor, decreases the respiratory drive. In some patients, this reduction of minute ventilation may promote ventilatory failure, leading to an increase in arterial PCO2.

Although the mechanisms of action are not completely understood, some interventions such as nasal gas flow through a cannula, chest wall vibration, and a flow of cold air onto the cheek may reduce breathlessness without causing a significant reduction in ventilation.

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