CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
Common causes of hypoxemia include:
- A blocked airway
- Certain medications, such as narcotics and anesthetics, which depress breathing
- Congenital heart disease — heart defects that are present at birth
- High altitudes
- Interstitial lung disease
- Pulmonary edema
- Pulmonary embolism
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Sleep apnea
Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.
- Barrett KE, et al. Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology. 24th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=741. Accessed Nov. 2, 2012.
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- Acute hypoxemic respiratory failure (AHRF, ARDS). The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/print/critical_care_medicine/respiratory_failure_and_mechanical_ventilation/acute_hypoxemic_respiratory_failure_ahrf_ards.html. Accessed Nov. 2, 2012.
- Kent BD, et al. Hypoxemia in patients with COPD: Cause, effects, and disease progression. International Journal of COPD. 2011;6:199.
- Nussbaumer-Ochsner Y, et al. Sleep and breathing in high altitude pulmonary edema susceptible subjects at 4,559 meters. Sleep. 2012;35:1413.