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Managing ventilatory insufficiency and failure in a patient with kyphoscoliosis: a case study

Managing ventilatory insufficiency and failure in a patient with kyphoscoliosis: a case study

Australian Critical Care 14(4): 165-169

This article reports a case study of 'Sue', a 37 year old female who was transferred to a metropolitan hospital's intensive care unit in acute respiratory failure secondary to severe kyphoscoliosis (KS). KS is defined as a deformity of the spine involving both lateral displacement (scoliosis) and anteroposterior angulation (kyphosis). Over time, this anatomical distortion results in ventilatory insufficiency due to muscle weakness. Sue displayed a restrictive lung pattern, evidenced by a decreased vital capacity and tidal volume with severe nocturnal dyspnoea, resulting in raised carbon dioxide levels in arterial blood and decreased oxygenation. This paper reviews Sue's progress throughout her hospitalisation and examines the key issues involved in her care. Particular attention is given to specific problems encountered on the acute care ward related to oxygen delivery, tracheostomy care, non-invasive ventilation and rehabilitation. The paper highlights the increased acuity of respiratory ward patients who require the use of substantial technological support to optimise their management. Nurses working in these wards need specialised knowledge, excellent patient communication ability and well-developed technical skills. The trend is to treat patients with respiratory failure, either chronic or acute, on wards rather than in critical care units' which has promoted the development of a specialised role in respiratory nursing.

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Accession: 046619316

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PMID: 11806515

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