Emergency management of acute asthma

Roger Harris
Australian Family Physician 2002, 31 (9): 802-6

BACKGROUND: Life threatening asthma is not an uncommon emergency and all doctors need to have an ordered approach to managing this problem both in the surgery and the home.

OBJECTIVE: To develop a plan for the rapid assessment and management of a patient with asthma. The main focus is on severe life threatening asthma and management is based on the equipment and medication a doctor is likely to have available in the surgery.

CONCLUSION: The key to successful treatment of life threatening asthma is a rapid assessment of severity, an early emergency call for an ambulance, oxygen, continuous nebulised beta 2 agonist, corticosteroids and the use of parenteral adrenaline for the patient in extremis.

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