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What is respiratory arrest?

Karen L. Gorton, PhD, MS, RN
Emergency Room Nursing

Respiratory arrest is when a person stops breathing. This occurs more commonly in children than adults. Adults are more likely to suffer cardiac arrest which leads to respiratory arrest. 


Kynthia James
Critical Care Nursing

Respiratory arrest is condition where the patient stops breathing. If assistance in oxygenation does not occur quickly, cardiac arrest will soon follow. If you find a person in respiratory it is essential that you get immediate help and if train assist with breathing.

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Respiratory arrest occurs when an individual is unable to breathe on their own. When this occurs immediate intervention must occur or the person will die. Sometimes it is from a foreign object blocking the airway. When this occurs removing the object will solve the problem. When respiratory arrest occurs due to a medical condition such as cardiac arrest or an drug overdose the person will need to be placed on life support which requires inserting a breathing tube down their mouth with the purpose of allowing a ventilator (breathing machine) to breath for them until they are able to breathe on their own once again.  

Respiratory distress can lead to respiratory arrest, which occurs when breathing has stopped. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.