Acute Severe Asthma

It is important to differentiate routine asthma care from that in acute severe asthma. This section will focus on acute or near-fatal asthma, a condition that is largely reversible so related deaths should be considered avoidable. Interventions are aimed at preventing respiratory and secondary cardiac arrest (AHA & ILCOR 2000, Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) & British Thoracic Society (BTS) 2003).

Most deaths related to acute severe asthma occur outside hospital. Contributing factors include:

• patients and their relatives seek medical care late because they do not understand or recognise the severity of the attack;

• emergency services or medical professionals may be slow to respond;

• patients with less severe asthma attacks may seek emergency care but after treatment are discharged home and deteriorate further.

Cardiac arrest may occur in patients with severe asthma as a result of any of the following:

• hypoxia from mucus plugging or severe bronchospasm;

• cardiac arrhythmias from hypoxia or as a side-effect of beta agonists and aminophylline;

• tension pneumothorax.

Coping with Asthma

Coping with Asthma

If you suffer with asthma, you will no doubt be familiar with the uncomfortable sensations as your bronchial tubes begin to narrow and your muscles around them start to tighten. A sticky mucus known as phlegm begins to produce and increase within your bronchial tubes and you begin to wheeze, cough and struggle to breathe.

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Responses

  • cotman
    Does asthma cause a secondary cardiac arrest?
    4 days ago

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