Hypercapnia complicating massive pulmonary embolism

Crit Care Med. 1984 Aug;12(8):686-8. doi: 10.1097/00003246-198408000-00019.


An elevated PaCO2 is distinctly unusual in pulmonary embolic disease. We report 2 patients with massive pulmonary emboli complicated by hypercapnia in the absence of underlying chronic obstructive lung disease. Profound alterations in ventilation/perfusion matching and reduced cardiac output are probable mechanisms of this gas-exchange problem.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiac Output
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypercapnia / etiology*
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Embolism / complications*
  • Pulmonary Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Pulmonary Embolism / physiopathology
  • Radiography
  • Ventilation-Perfusion Ratio