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Status asthmaticus
Classification and external resources
ICD-10 J46.
ICD-9 493.01, 493.91
MeSH D013224

Status asthmaticus is an acute exacerbation of asthma that does not respond to standard treatments of bronchodilators and corticosteroids. Symptoms include chest tightness, rapidly progressive dyspnea (shortness of breath), dry cough, use of accessory muscles, labored breathing and extreme wheezing. It is a life-threatening episode of airway obstruction considered a medical emergency. Complications include cardiac and/or respiratory arrest.

The lung failure means that oxygen can no longer be provided, carbon dioxide can no longer be eliminated, which leads to acidosis.

It is characterized histologically by smooth muscle hypertrophy and basement membrane thickening.

Interventions include initiating and maintaining IV access, bronchodilators as prescribed, telemetry monitoring in the PCU, usually arterial blood gas tests sometimes arterial lines are inserted and preparing for emergency intubation.

Intravenous treatments such as Aminophylline, Theophylline and Salbutamol are typically given. Many patients eventually respond avoiding more aggressive measures.

Status Asthmaticus does not respond adequately to nebulised treatment alone therefore the intravenous treatments such as those above sometimes in addition to Intravenous Magnesium Sulphate are also given.

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Simple English

Status astmathicus is a severe form of asthma bronchiale that does not respond to the usual treatments.

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