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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 5, Issue 6, Pages 485-490

Ventilatory Care in Status Asthmaticus

Robert J Smyth

Department of Anaesthesia, York County Hospital, Newmarket, Ontario, Canada

Copyright © 1998 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Asthma continues to pose a significant medical problem in terms of both morbidity and mortality. A number of patients with a severe exacerbation of asthma fail medical therapy and require urgent intubation and mechanical ventilation. New modalities of ventilatory support, including noninvasive ventilation, have been shown to provide effective ventilation even in the presence of severe bronchoconstriction. An intrinsically high level of auto positive end-expiratory pressure in these patients requires a precise balance between respiratory frequency, tidal volume and inspiratory flow rates. Pressure support ventilation reduces the risk of barotrauma and lowers the work of breathing in these patients. Adjuvant therapy with inhaled anesthetics and bronchoalveolar lavage may also be indicated in patients requiring high pressures to achieve adequate ventilation.