Respiratory distress is a medical term used to describesevere shortness of breath. It occurs when there is notenough oxygen in the blood due to problems with theability of the lungs to take in oxygen. When you are in respiratory distress, you may be short of breath and get out of breath by doing simple tasks such aswalking across a room, brushing your teeth, or some-times just resting in a chair or in bed. Respiratory distress occurs in CHF patients when the fluid backsup in the lungs (called pulmonary edema). Respiratory distress is a serious condition that should prompt pa-tients to call their doctor or an ambulance. Respiratorydistress can lead to respiratory failure.