[Acute asthmatic crisis in children]

J C Dubus, A C Bodiou, C Buttin, T Jouglet, N Stremler, L Mély
Archives de Pédiatrie: Organe Officiel de la Sociéte Française de Pédiatrie 2000, 7 Suppl 1: 27S-32S
Acute asthma attack in children is an attack responsible for life-threatening acute respiratory distress with partial or no response to bronchodilator drugs. The severity of the episode needs to be quickly evaluated. This presupposes a perfect knowledge of the clinical signs of severity. Treatment is urgent and first based on the administration of high doses of inhaled short-acting beta 2-agonists. In the more obstructed children, anti-cholinergic drugs can be added to nebulized beta 2-agonists. Because of their delayed effect, systemic steroids require an early prescription. Symptomatic treatments are: urgent hospitalization, oxygen if needed, proper hydratation. Continuous nebulization or intravenous perfusion of beta 2-agonists are prescribed with cardiac monitoring when no objective improvement is noted. Admission into the pediatric intensive care unit when bronchial obstruction continues will permit the association of bronchodilator drugs and the proposal of mechanical ventilation if needed. When the episode is resolved, a prophylactic treatment using inhaled corticosteroids must be prescribed. Clinical and spirometric follow-up has to be organized, and the patient and his/her family have to be educated.

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