Definition: Hypercapnia refers to an increased amount of carbon dioxide, the waste product of respiration, in the blood.
Patients who have COPD have difficulty moving air into and out of the lungs. This means it is also difficult for the lungs to exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide, which is an essential part of the breathing process. This can lead to low levels of oxygen in the blood, (hypoxemia) and high levels of carbon dioxide (hypercapnia).
For more information about the causes, symptoms and treatment of hypercapnia, read:
Also Known As: high carbon dioxide, increased carbon dioxide levels
Common Misspellings: hypercabnia, hyperkapnia
Examples: Mr. Jones went into respiratory failure due to hypercapnia and was subsequently hospitalized.