Respiratory failure in pediatric patients | ResMed
Respiratory failure in pediatric patients

Respiratory failure in pediatric patients

Children are at risk of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), respiratory distress or respiratory failure if they have:

  • Upper airway obstruction (caused by adenoid and tonsil hypertrophy, high arched palate, laryngomalcia and mircognathia)1
  • Lower airway obstruction or restriction (caused by bronchiectasis or scoliosis) 1
  • Poor muscle tone (frequently associated with congenital conditions including muscular atrophies and dystrophies)1
  • Poor functioning of the pons medulla (brain) and/or central nervous system (caused by congenial central hypoventilation syndrome or spinal cord injury)

If young children contract a respiratory infectious disease, they are also at risk of acute episodes of respiratory distress or respiratory failure, and may need respiratory support therapy during this time.

The treatment for pediatric SDB, respiratory distress and respiratory failure ranges from surgery to noninvasive ventilation (NIV) to invasive ventilation.


  1. Cheifetz IM. Invasive and noninvasive pediatric mechanical ventilation.Respir Care. 2003 Apr;48(4):442-58