Background Asthma is the most common chronic disease of childhood and the leading cause of
childhood morbidity from chronic disease. When uncontrolled, asthma can place
significant limits on daily life, and is sometimes fatal.
Objective This article describes the initial assessment and management of status asthmaticus in
Discussion Status asthmaticus is a medical emergency in which asthma symptoms are refractory to
initial bronchodilator therapy. Patients may report chest tightness, rapidly progressive
shortness of breath, dry cough and wheezing. Typically, patients present a few days
after the onset of a viral respiratory illness, following exposure to potent allergens or
irritants, or after exercise in a cold environment, however, they can also present with
sudden onset of symptoms with an unknown trigger. Early recognition and initiation of
therapy is vital in preventing severe complications such as respiratory failure. Aggressive
treatment with beta-agonists, anticholinergics and corticosteroids remains the gold
standard for this condition.
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