[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
April 1971

Renal Function in Respiratory Failure: Effects of Hypoxia, Hyperoxia, and Hypercapnia

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC

From the Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center and Durham Veterans Administration Hospital, Durham, NC.

Arch Intern Med. 1971;127(4):754-762. doi:10.1001/archinte.1971.00310160232020

Renal function was studied in 27 men in whom respiratory failure was accompanied by peripheral edema, increased heart size, and rapid diuresis during recovery. All were hypoxic and 24 were hypercapnic. Excretion of water loads (20 ml/kg body weight) was impaired during respiratory failure and usually improved during recovery. When arterial blood oxygen tension (Pao2) was raised, urine flow and renal function decreased and when Pao2 was lowered, renal function increased. However, it decreased abruptly when hypoxia became severe, Pao2 below 40 mm Hg. The arterial blood tension of carbon dioxide had no measurable effect until it reached 65 mm Hg and abruptly reduced a renal function. These effects of acute changes in Pao2 and Paco2 may help explain fluid retention in patients with cor pulmonale who have severe hypercapnia, severe hypoxia, or both.