5+ Year Member
Feb 20, 2011
Hi Everyone,
I am struggling to understand something that was brought up in the Kaplan bio review book. My apologies if this question has already been asked.
It says when you get a pulmonary embolism where segments of pulmonary arteries are blocked, you experience rapid breathing.

My rationale:
Blood is trying to get to the lungs via pulmonary arteries to unload CO2 and load O2. If pulmonary artery is blocked, CO2 will build up since it is not able to unload sufficiently at the lungs, the bicarbonate buffer system will be pushed to the right (Le Chatelier).

1. Will a pulmonary embolism (constantly pushing the buffer system to the right since you have an excess of CO2) result in acidemia?

2. Is the rapid breathing happening so you can expel as much CO2 as you can? Or you can obtain as much O2 as you can, or both?

Thanks in advance!


Where's my 5' UTR?
Jun 16, 2016
Some membrane somewhere
1. Yes. You'll experience respiratory acidosis due to HCO3- production.

2. Yes. Your hypothalamus is signaling to your lungs that there is too much CO2/HCO3- in your system that needs to be expelled. Of course, this is coupled with oxygen going into your blood stream due to gas exchange.
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