[Skip to Navigation]
December 1973

Acute Respiratory Failure in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Immediate and Long-Term Prognosis

Author Affiliations

New Orleans; Shreveport, La

From the Department of Medicine, Tulane University School of Medicine, and the Medical Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, New Orleans. Dr. Burk is now with the Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center, Lackland AFB, Tex, and Dr. George is now at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine, Shreveport, La.

Arch Intern Med. 1973;132(6):865-868. doi:10.1001/archinte.1973.03650120067012

One hundred sixty-six episodes of acute respiratory failure in 74 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were analyzed. The most important causes were respiratory infections, congestive heart failure, and sedation. Seventy-four percent of all episodes resulted in recovery, and this rate did not vary greatly over the five-year period despite several changes in treatment. Fifty-three percent of the patients were alive one year after their initial episode, and long-term survival was not related to causes of acute respiratory failure. Among 25 patients who died, ages and forced expiratory volumes did not correlate with length of survival. Arteriosclerotic heart disease was a common associated factor, evident clinically in 58% of these patients.