Fecal impaction: A rare cause of respiratory arrest in childhood

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Cardiopulmonary arrest in childhood is usually due to respiratory failure leading to hypoxemia, acidosis, cardiac dysfunction, and terminal asystole. Respiratory failure is the end result of either impaired oxygenation, impaired ventilation, or both. We report a case of severe fecal impaction in an eight year old that resulted in a significant depression of ventilation by severely restricting respiratory mechanics and that ultimately progressed to respiratory failure and circulatory compromise. Physicians should be aware of this rare but possible etiology for life-threatening events in children.

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