The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1996 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Assessment and Management of Acute Asthma

John Heffner, MD Wednesday, November 6, 1996

The proper assessment and management of acute asthma is critically important to ensure a good outcome in this potentially life-threatening condition. Key historical, physical, and laboratory findings can assess the severity of the episode to determine need for hospitalization. Initial therapeutic protocols are becoming standardized through collaborative consensus statements. Fundamental principles of care center on careful patient monitoring and prompt initiation of aggressive pharmacologic therapy. Respiratory therapists play a central role in ensuring that ordered care is delivered in an era of managed care and in monitoring the effects of therapy. Patients who fail to respond to initial care may require more innovative interventions to maintain ventilation and minimize complications such as barotrauma in those who require mechanical ventilation.

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