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The presentation of respiratory alkalosis depends on the underlying disorder. Most causes are associated with tachypnea, which can be dramatic or subtle.


  1. Hyperventilation induces hypocapnia causing respiratory alkalosis.

  2. The most common causes are pulmonary diseases, cirrhosis, fever, pain, or anxiety (Table 4-1).

  3. Hypocapnia acutely reduces CNS blood flow.

  4. Symptoms include paresthesias (particularly perioral), vertigo, dizziness, anxiety, hallucinations, myalgias, and symptoms reflective of the underlying disorder.

  5. Adverse effects include hypokalemia, hypocalcemia, lung injury, seizures, angina, and arrhythmias.


Therapy is directed at the underlying disorder.

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