[Management of severe acute asthma in children in pediatric urgent and intensive care units]

Y Loriette, A Labbé, M C Héraud, V Poirier, D Kalendarov, J Gaulme
Revue des Maladies Respiratoires 1999, 16 (4): 487-94
Mortality in cases of severe asthma attacks in children is evaluated at 1%. During initial medical care, repeated evaluation of clinical and para-clinical severity criteria constitutes the main therapeutic guide. Emergency care treatment is based mainly on oxygen therapy, bronchodilatory therapy by discontinuous inhalation, and general corticotherapy. Intravenous theophylline treatment is controversial. The response after a few hours should allow a decision to be made [1] to follow up with outpatient treatment (rapid marked improvement), [2] to continue the hospital treatment (stabilization), or [3] to transfer to intensive care (worsening, exhaustion). In the intensive care unit, the treatment is based on continuous intravenous administration of beta 2 mimetics in addition to the above therapies. The objective is to avoid resorting to assisted ventilation. When this proves necessary, it must not be detrimental; controlled alveolar hypoventilation allows dynamic hyper-inflation linked to ventilation to be reduced. Prevention of relapse is indispensable. This requires hospitalization in a specialized care unit after discharge from intensive care.

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