Clinical Features

The signs and symptoms of hypercapnia depend on the absolute value of Pa co2 and its rate of change. Acute elevations result in increased intracranial pressure, and patients may complain of headache, confusion, or lethargy. With severe hypercapnia, seizures and coma can result. Extreme hypercapnia can result in cardiovascular collapse, but this is usually seen only with acute elevations of Pa co2 to over 100 mmHg. As opposed to acute hypercapnia, chronic hypercapnia, even over 80 mmHg, may be well tolerated.

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