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breathing in which all or part of the chest wall moves in during inhalation and out during exhalation; there is also dyssynchrony between rib cage and abdomen, causing a “seesaw” type motion. The condition seriously inhibits the movement of gases during respiration and can produce severe and even fatal cardiovascular disturbances and respiratory insufficiency if not quickly relieved by emergency treatment. It usually results from traumatic injury to the thorax (flail chest), in which several ribs are fractured in two or more places and are no longer attached by bony cartilage to the rest of the rib cage. It can also be seen following surgical removal of several ribs, in paralysis of the diaphragm, and secondary to respiratory muscle fatigue in patients with acute ventilatory failure.
deflation of the lung during inspiration and inflation of the lung during the phase of expiration; seen in the lung on the side of an open pneumothorax.
1. Respiration occurring in patients with chest trauma and multiple rib fractures in which a portion of the chest wall sinks inward with each spontaneous inspiratory effort.
2. A condition seen in paralysis of the diaphragm in which the diaphragm ascends during inspiration.
See also: respiration