J Korean Med Assoc.  2014 Aug;57(8):685-692. 10.5124/jkma.2014.57.8.685.

Respiratory distress in children and adolescents

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, the Catholic University of Korea College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. pedjsyoon@catholic.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, Kyung Hee University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Respiratory distress is not uncommon in children and adolescents, who are at higher risk of progressing into respiratory failure than adults. When managing dyspneic pediatric patients, a clinical history and physical examination should be performed simultaneously and must be followed up by prompt first aid, including oxygen supplementation. Prior to initiating an invasive therapy such as endotracheal intubation, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation should first be considered. This method may be effective in patients with chronic respiratory distress and failure. The prevention and proper management of respiratory infections are also important in affected patients. If chronic respiratory distress deteriorates into respiratory failure, a portable home mechanical ventilator may be needed.


Respiratory distress; Respiratory insufficiency; Child; Adolescent

MeSH Terms

First Aid
Intubation, Intratracheal
Physical Examination
Positive-Pressure Respiration
Respiratory Insufficiency
Respiratory Tract Infections
Ventilators, Mechanical


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