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Emergency airway management in acute severe asthma

Peter Shearer, MD
Andy Jagoda, MD
Section Editors
Susan B Torrey, MD
Deputy Editor
Jonathan Grayzel, MD, FAAEM


Most patients with a severe asthma exacerbation can be managed successfully with aggressive use of beta-agonists, anticholinergics, glucocorticoids, and other medications. Infrequently, such medical interventions are insufficient to reverse the immediate course of disease and endotracheal intubation is required.

The medications and techniques used to perform advanced airway management, particularly endotracheal intubation, in the patient with a severe asthma exacerbation will be reviewed here. Other aspects of the diagnosis and management of severe asthma and of emergency airway management are discussed separately:

For the medical management of severe asthma in adults: (see "Management of acute exacerbations of asthma in adults" and "An overview of asthma management"). An algorithm outlining treatment is also provided (algorithm 1).

For the management of mechanical ventilation in asthmatics: (see "Invasive mechanical ventilation in adults with acute exacerbations of asthma").

For the management of severe asthma in children, including mechanical ventilation: (see "Acute severe asthma exacerbations in children: Intensive care unit management").

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jun 19, 2017.
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