• Hypoxemia;
  • FRC;
  • work of breathing;
  • acute respiratory failure


Over the past several decades, recognition of acute respiratory failure as the cause of death in patients suffering from various clinical conditions has prompted aggressiv investigation into the area of respiratory physiology and supportive respiratory care. With the evolution of emergency medicine and critical care services in both human and veterinary medicine, many patients previously considered unsalvageable due to the severity of their underlying disease are now being resuscitated and successfully supported, creating a new population of critically ill patients. Where only a decade ago these patients would have succumbed to their underlying disease, they now survive long enough to manifest the complications of shock and tissue injury in the form of acute respiratory failure. Investigation into the pathophysiology and treatment of this acute respiratory distress syndrom (ARDS) has facilitated increased clinical application of respiratory theerapy and machanical ventilation.1 The purpose of this paper is to provide a basic review of respiratory mechanics and the pathophysiology of hypoxemia as they relate to airway pressure therapy in veterinary patients and to review the use of airway pressure therapy in veterinary patients This paper is divided into two parts; part I reviews respiratory mechanics and hypoxemia as they apply to respiratory therapy, while part II deals specifically with airway pressure therapy andits use in clinical cases.