What Is Paradoxical Respiration? 

Respiration is a normal process in the human body and it refers to the exchanges of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) between the human cells and the atmosphere. The fact that through respiration oxygen is transported to body cells and carbon dioxide is taken away is actually a condition for living. There might be cases when normal respiration is impaired and these cases are very dangerous and pose a real threat to someone's life. Paradoxical breathing is one of the disorders that affect respiration and needs to be addressed immediately.

When breathing normally, the lungs and the chest inflate when inhaling air and deflate when exhaling. In paradoxical respiration, just as the name suggests, things go the exact opposite way: lungs or part of the lungs inflate when air is exhaled and deflate when inhaling. This condition is not at all normal and it can even be life-threatening. In paradoxical respiration the synchronization between the rib cage and the abdomen is severely impaired. More than that, paradoxical respiration interferes with the normal transfer of gases between the body cells and the outer environment and, unless addressed immediately, it can prove fatal. Oxygen will not reach the body cells and this could quickly lead to cardiovascular problems.

There are several causes that might lead to paradoxical respiration. The most common one refers to injury of the chest, also known as flail chest. When someone goes through a physical trauma, this might lead to the fact that a part of the rib cage gets separated from the rest of the chest and paradoxical breathing occurs. It is naturally understood that flail chest needs emergency medical assistance. Its main symptoms include difficulty in breathing and abnormal movement of the chest walls because of paradoxical breathing and pain because of the rib fractures.

Paradoxical respiration can also occur in the absence of severe injury such as flail chest. In some patients it occurs after they have been in surgery for rib removal. It also needs to be addressed immediately. Paradoxical breathing can also be the result of a mechanical obstruction of the airways which might happen when a piece of food or any other small object gets blocked in the trachea. Paradoxical respiration can also be caused by pneumothorax (accumulation of air in the pleural spaces of the lungs) or by paralysis of the diaphragm.

As easily imaginable, paradoxical respiration is taken care of in the emergency room. It can soon lead to oxygen deprivation in the body and to accumulation of carbon dioxide. In some cases, paradoxical breathing can be a symptom of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known COPD. Unfortunately, when white bumps on vagina paradoxical breathing occurs in patients with COPD it usually is a sign that the disease is in its last stage.