[Ventilation in special situations. Mechanical ventilation in status asthmaticus]

N Molini Menchón, E Ibiza Palacios, V Modesto i Alapont
Anales de Pediatría: Publicación Oficial de la Asociación Española de Pediatría (A.E.P.) 2003, 59 (4): 352-62
The indications for mechanical ventilation in status asthmaticus are cardiopulmonary arrest, significant alteration of consciousness, respiratory exhaustion, and progressive respiratory insufficiency despite aggressive bronchodilator treatment. In mechanical ventilation for status asthmaticus, a specific strategy directed at reducing dynamic hyperinflation must be used, with low tidal volumes and long expiratory times, achieved by diminishing respiratory frequency. This ventilatory pattern produces permissive hypercapnia, which is generally well tolerated with suitable sedation. The best methods for detecting and/or controlling dynamic hyperinflation in ventilated patients with status asthmaticus are the flow/time and flow/volume respiratory curves, pulmonary volume at the end of inspiration, and the pressure plateau. In addition to mechanical ventilation the child must receive sedation with or without a muscle relaxant to prevent barotrauma and accidental extubation. Bronchodilator treatment with beta-adrenergic agonists, methyl-prednisolone, and intravenous aminophylline are also required. A combination of inhaled salbutamol and nebulized ipratropium in the inspiratory branch of the ventilator should be used in patients in whom this treatment is effective. Currently there is insufficient evidence on the efficiency of other treatments in status asthmaticus and these should be used as rescue treatments.

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