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Hyperventilation syndrome – not to be dismissed


Hyperventilation reduces arterial PCO2 and can cause many symptoms due to neuronal hyper-excitability, and vasoconstriction. It has always been recognised as a psychosomatic condition, but has proved very difficult to define clearly. Nevertheless, patients severely disabled from chronic hyperventilation have been well documented. Casualty officers often see patients presenting with dramatic acute hyperventilation, and GPs and physicians in most specialities see occasional patients in whom presenting complaints are due to the effects of hypocapnia.

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