Hyperpnea vs. Hyperventilation vs. Kussmaul's

  1. (I posted the following on the Pulmonary Specialist Nursing Forum a few days ago. I thought that if anyone could answer this, surely someone on that forum could. However, so far there have been 29 views but no replies... So if anyone would like to take a shot here, please feel free.)

    Could anyone explain the difference between these 3 terms?

    I'm not necessarily looking for particular websites or textbook definitions, because I already know what they are. Although if you happen to know of any sites that are particularly good (ie, besides wikipedia, webmd, and all the other walmart-quality of sources out there), feel free to post them.

    What I would really be interested in, though, is hearing a layman's definition from a nurse who already works with pulmonary-problem patients. ie, someone who has actual experience, understands these term, and can do more than just quote a textbook. (Not to belabor the point, but I'm just having a hard time establishing some consistency among all the sources that I've looked at so far.)
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   deeDawntee
    The times that I have seen true Kussmaul's respiration was in patients with severe diabetic ketoacidosis. The last patient I can think of came into the ICU with his pH of 6.99! There was a distinct difference btw this type of breathing and other fast breathing...he was 'gasping' for air and it had nothing to do with his heart, or lungs, which were both perfectly healthy...it was that compensatory mechanism at work to blow off as much CO2 as possible...of course oxygen or antianxiety meds made no difference...his breathing didn't start returning to normal until his pH began to normalize with insulin and fluids.

    Hyperpnea is rare and I have only seen it once in a patient with brain stem dysfunction and he did not live long...He wasn't really breathing fast, about 20 rpm, but I can only describe it as almost labored and very deep....and it just didn't seem to fit the clinical picture.... I don't know how else to describe it, seemed out of place...like the guy just couldn't take a deep enough breath...

    Hyperventilation I would describe as almost always an anxiety response. This is when you give the person a paper bag to breath into because they are about to pass out from self-imposed respiratory alkalosis...

    I hope you get some other responses... very interesting question, by the way.
  4. by   Jedi of Zen
    dee,

    First of all, thank you very much for responding. I truly appreciate it!

    Quote from deeDawntee
    Hyperventilation I would describe as almost always an anxiety response. This is when you give the person a paper bag to breath into because they are about to pass out from self-imposed respiratory alkalosis...



    Is the paper bag used in order to increase CO2 levels in the person's bloodstream (and thus to stimulate CO2 chemoreceptors which can then adjust the rate and depth of ventilation)?

    or am I just totally lost? (I wouldn't put it past myself..)
  5. by   deeDawntee
    Quote from Jedi of Zen
    Is the paper bag used in order to increase CO2 levels in the person's bloodstream (and thus to stimulate CO2 chemoreceptors which can then adjust the rate and depth of ventilation)?

    or am I just totally lost? (I wouldn't put it past myself..)
    You are far from lost! And yes having them breath into a paper bag does increase CO2 levels, I'm not sure if the chemoreceptors overides someone in a true panic attack, the will continue to hyperventilate I would think, until they passed out or got some ativan!!

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