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Lack of exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide due to respiratory failure or disturbance, resulting in insufficient brain oxygen, which leads to unconsciousness or death. Causes include strangulation, drowning, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Breathing in food or fluid can cause obstruction of the airway and pulmonary collapse. Emergency resuscitation usually includes cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on asphyxia, visit Britannica.com.