What is Asphyxiation?

What is Asphyxiation?

Asphyxiation is a situation in which the body is deprived of oxygen. This essential element to the functioning of the organism no longer reaches the vital organs (brain, heart, kidneys, etc.). The consequences of asphyxiation are serious, even vital.

Causes of asphyxiation
Many causes can cause asphyxiation:

  • blocking an element in the airways
  • the formation of laryngeal edema
  • acute or chronic respiratory failure
  • inhalation of toxic products, gas or smoke
  • the constriction
  • a position blocking the respiratory muscles, held in the long term

Who is affected by asphyxiation?
A situation of asphyxia can affect any individual if he is subjected to an uncomfortable position, blocking his breathing, or swallowing a foreign body blocking his respiratory system.

Premature babies have an increased risk of asphyxiation. The fetus poorly positioned during all or part of the pregnancy can also suffer asphyxia, by depriving oxygen from the umbilical cord.

Young children, having an increased tendency to carry the items to their mouths are also at higher risk (toxic household products, small toys, etc.).

Finally, workers whose activity is subjected to work in confinement or using toxic products also present an increased risk of asphyxiation.



Evolution and possible complications of asphyxiation
The consequences of asphyxiation are serious. Indeed, deprivation of the body in oxygen systematically leads to depletion of this essential element to the body and vital organs: brain, heart, lungs, kidneys, etc.

The symptoms of asphyxiation
The clinical signs and symptoms of asphyxia result directly from the deprivation of the body, oxygen. They result in:

  • sensory disturbances: visual impairment, buzzing, whistling or tinnitus, etc.
  • motor disorders: muscle stiffness, muscle weakness, etc.
  • psychic disorders: brain damage, loss of consciousness, anoxic intoxication, etc.
  • nervous disorders: delayed nervous and psychomotor reactions, tingling, paralysis, etc.
  • cardiovascular disorders: vasoconstriction (reduction in the diameter of the blood vessels)
  • indirectly causes the constriction of organs and muscles (abdominal, spleen, brain, etc.)
  • an acid-base imbalance
  • hyperglycemia
  • hormonal disorders
  • kidney problems.

Risk factors for asphyxiation
The risk factors for asphyxiation are:

  • poor positioning of the fetus during pregnancy
  • premature delivery
  • a position blocking breathing
  • the development of laryngeal edema
  • exposure to toxic products, vapors or gases
  • foreign body ingestion




How to prevent asphyxiation?
Prenatal and neonatal asphyxia can not be expected.

The asphyxia in the young child is mainly the consequence of the ingestion of toxic products or foreign bodies. Preventive measures help to limit the risk of accidents: placing household and toxic products at a high level, carefully watching for foreign bodies in the mouth, etc.

How to treat asphyxiation?
The management of a case of asphyxiation must be effective immediately to limit the consequences and the risk of death of the individual.

The primary goal of management is to unblock the airways. For this, the ejection of a foreign body from an individual is essential. The mouth to mouth is the second phase, allowing the re-oxygenation of the body. If necessary, cardiac massage is the next step.

These first-aid measures are generally to be carried out as early as possible, while waiting for help. At the arrival of the latter, the patient is put under artificial respiration and a set of examinations is performed (blood pressure, infusion, heart rate, oxygenation rate, etc.).