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Respiratory Acidosis: Definition

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Respiratory Acidosis is the result of CO2 retention and consequently an increased ECF PCO2. As predicted by the Henderson-Hasselbach equation, this results in a decreased ECF pH. CO2 retention is caused by pulmonary hypoventilation, and may be due to airway obstruction, inefficient alveolar exchange of CO2, neurological damage resulting in paralysis of respiratory muscles or changes in respiratory rate and depth, or by drugs affecting any of the foregoing. Uncompensated Respiratory Acidosis is characterized by a decrease in ECF pH and an increase in ECF PCO2 with a normal ECF HCO3- concentration.
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