Here’s a cut&paste from Wikipedia on ventilation control:
Receptors play important roles in the regulation of respiration; central and peripheral chemoreceptors, and mechanoreceptors.
Central chemoreceptors of the central nervous system, located on the ventrolateral medullary surface, are sensitive to the pH of their environment.
Peripheral chemoreceptors act most importantly to detect variation of the oxygen in the arterial blood, in addition to detecting arterial carbon dioxide and pH.
Mechanoreceptors are located in the airways and parenchyma, and are responsible for a variety of reflex responses. These include:
-The Hering-Breuer reflex that terminates inspiration to prevent over inflation of the lungs, and the reflex responses of coughing, airway constriction, and hyperventilation.
-The upper airway receptors are responsible for reflex responses such as, sneezing, coughing, closure of glottis, and hiccups.
-The spinal cord reflex responses include the activation of additional respiratory muscles as compensation, gasping response, hypoventilation, and an increase in breathing frequency and volume.
-The nasopulmonary and nasothoracic reflexes regulate the mechanism of breathing through deepening the inhale. Triggered by the flow of the air, the pressure of the air in the nose, and the quality of the air, impulses from the nasal mucosa are transmitted by the trigeminal nerve to the breathing centres in the brainstem, and the generated response is transmitted to the bronchi, the intercostal muscles and the diaphragm.***
While it appears the panic/gasping instinct responses are largely governed by chemo receptors sensitive to pH, CO2, and O2 levels in the blood, it doesn’t look to be a super simple system either, and therefore I don’t know whether simply maintaining appropriate O2:CO2 levels in the blood artificially would “satisfy” all the various sensors we have and cancel out all the responses we have built in. Also not sure how paralysing your diaphragm would factor in. I know we can use drugs to essentially shut off our body’s ventilation… I just don’t know how it feels during or if the combination and application of the required medication will still allow one to be cognisant of how it feels.