Kussmaul Breathing, Cheyne-Stokes Respiration & Biot's Respiration Terms

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  • 0:02 Technical Terms for…
  • 0:32 Kussmaul's Respiration
  • 2:00 Cheyne-Stokes Respiration
  • 2:50 Biot's Respiration
  • 3:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson is going to define and briefly discuss Kussmaul's respiration, Cheyne-Stokes respiration (CSR), as well as Biot's respiration and what patients may have such breathing patterns.

Technical Terms for Respiration

There are several weird-sounding terms related to respiration that seem harder to understand than they really are. Actually, their definitions may vary just a bit depending on setting: academic or practical.

These are Kussmaul's respiration, Cheyne-Stokes respiration, and Biot's (or Bee-oh's) respiration.

It all sounds kind of technical and a bit out there, but, by the end of this lesson, you'll be a pro at explaining what these are.

Kussmaul's Respiration

There are different medical conditions that can affect the acid/base balance in your body, meaning your body can become more acidic or basic.

When a person is acidotic, that is to say they are undergoing a pathological process (known as acidosis) that leads to acidemia, an abnormally low pH of the blood, they may experience Kussmaul's respiration.

Kussmaul's respiration, as German physician Adolph Kussmaul himself described, is technically deep, slow, and labored breathing, which we now know is in response to severe acidemia stemming from metabolic acidosis. However, nowadays, it is sometimes used to describe rapid and shallow breathing patterns in cases of less severe acidemia as well.

Why does this type of breathing pattern occur?

Well, what do you breathe in? Oxygen, right? What do you breathe out? Carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is acidic. It lowers the pH of the blood. By breathing rapidly and/or deeply, the body tries to blow off excess CO2 to increase pH back to normal, like an old train engine tries to blow off steam to cool itself off.

Such respiration can be seen in patients with diabetic ketoacidosis or renal (that is to say, kidney) failure among other problems.

Cheyne-Stokes Respiration

The next form of respiration I want to get to is a bit more difficult to understand, but not by too much.

It is called Cheyne-Stokes respiration (CSR). It is a form of respiration that is periodic in nature where there is a gradual increase in the depth and rate of breathing, followed by gradually shallower and slower breathing, with periods of apnea in between.

Apnea is the absence of spontaneous breathing.

Cheyne-Stokes respiration has been described as a crescendo-decrescendo or a waxing and waning pattern as a result.

Such breathing patterns may be observed in patients with congestive heart failure, brain damage, and other serious problems.

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