Skip to main content

Respiratory failure

Respiratory failure can occur when not enough oxygen passes from the lungs into the blood or when the lungs can't properly remove carbon dioxide from the blood.

What you should know about respiratory failure

  • Acute respiratory failure occurs when fluid builds up in the lungs’ air sacs. This prevents the lungs from releasing oxygen into the blood, causing a buildup of carbon dioxide.
  • Low oxygen levels and high carbon dioxide levels in the blood can occur at the same time, leading to respiratory failure.
  • Chronic respiratory failure can be caused by trauma, injury or a disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Get care for respiratory failure

Treatment options

Our pulmonology team provides the following treatments for respiratory failure:

  • Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (BIPAP)
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
  • Oxygen therapy
  • Tracheotomy
  • Ventilator (both invasive and non-invasive)

Specialties and institutes

Connect with other specialties at Geisinger to learn more about these treatments.