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Prolonged severe hypercapnia complicating near fatal asthma in a 35-year-old woman.

OBJECTIVE: We describe a patient with a prolonged and severe hypercapnia occurring during an episode of status asthmaticus induced by ophthalmic instillation of carteolol.

SETTING: Prehospital Emergency Medical Service and Pulmonary Intensive Care Unit in a university hospital.

PATIENT: A 35-year-old female developed an acute asthma attack while at home, which required advanced life support.

INTERVENTION: On hospital admission, arterial blood gases revealed a PaCO2 of 208 mmHg. Hypercapnia persisted with a PaCO2 of more than 190 mmHg for 10 h, with pH always less than 7.00. The patient was finally discharged after 26 days without sequelae.

CONCLUSION: This case illustrates the cerebral and cardiovascular tolerance of severe and prolonged hypercapnia associated with major acidosis.

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