paradoxical breathing

breathing movements in which the chest wall moves in on inspiration and out on expiration, in reverse of the normal movements. It may be seen in children with respiratory distress of any cause, which leads to indrawing of the intercostal spaces during inspiration. Patients with chronic airways obstruction also show indrawing of the lower ribs during inspiration, due to the distorted action of a depressed and flattened diaphragm. Crush injuries of the chest, with fractured ribs and sternum, can lead to a severe degree of paradoxical breathing.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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