What is Respiratory Alkalosis: Signs, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment


It is a medical condition in which the respiration of the pH of the blood increases beyond the normal range or normal values ​​(7.35 to 7.45) with a concomitant reduction in the arterial levels of carbon dioxide. There are two types of respiratory alkalosis: acute or chronic.

The chronic form is asymptomatic, but the acute form causes dizziness, confusion, paresthesias, cramps, and syncope. Signs include hyperpnea or tachypnea and carpopedal spasm.

Signs and symptoms of respiratory alkalosis

  • Palpitations
  • Spanish
  • Convulsion
  • Perspiration
  • Causes
  • Stress
  • Lung disease
  • Thermal aggression
  • Salicylate poisoning
  • Fever
  • Hyperventilation (due to a heart disorder or other)
  • Paralysis of the vocal cords (compensation for loss of voice volume results in excess of breath / dyspnea).
  • Liver disease


The mechanism of respiratory alkalosis usually occurs when some stimulus causes a person to hyperventilate. An increase in respiration produces an increase in alveolar respiration, the expulsion of CO2 from the circulation. This disturbs the dynamic chemical equilibrium of carbon dioxide in the circulatory system.

The ions that circulate hydrogen and bicarbonate move through carbonic acid (H2CO3), an intermediate that produces more CO2 through the carbonic anhydraseenzyme . This causes a decrease in the concentrated circulation of hydrogen ions and increases the pH (alkalosis).


The diagnosis is made by tests that measure the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide (in the blood), chest x-ray and a pulmonary function test.

The Davenport diagram allows physicians to describe the concentrations of bicarbonate in the blood (and blood pH) caused after a respiratory or metabolic acid-base disturbance.

Treatment for respiratory alkalosis

Respiratory alkalosis is very rarely a danger to life, although the pH level should not reach 7.5 or higher. The goal of therapy is to discover the underlying cause.

When PaCO2 adjusts rapidly in people with chronic respiratory alkalosis, metabolic acidosis may occur . If the person is with a mechanical ventilator, the prevention of hyperventilation is done by monitoring ABG levels.