what is “breath stacking?”

“Breath stacking” is a term that often applies to severe bronchospasm/COPD. This is when patients take a breath in, but are unable to get that air out, so it builds up and up in their lungs. If they are on a ventilator, you can see it as the volume getting progressively higher with each breath, and the patient not completing a full expiration before trying to inspire again.

the top graphs represent breath stacking (schemergency.com)
the top graphs represent breath stacking (schemergency.com)

If breath stacking is really bad, you can paralyze them with atracuronium.

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