Severe exacerbations of asthma

Susan J. Corbridge*, Thomas C Corbridge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


All asthmatics regardless of their perceived severity, are at risk of exacerbation, particularly if they are suboptimally treated in the outpatient arena. Fortunately, most patients recover after administration of bronchodilators and anti-inflammatory medications, but preventable deaths continue to occur and refractory cases result in hospitalization and need for mechanical ventilation. We begin this article by reviewing the pathophysiology of acute exacerbations to build a foundation for the assessment of clinical status and to provide the rationale for a carefully contemplated and evidence-based therapeutic approach. We end this article with an in-depth examination of the particular problems that are encountered during mechanical ventilation and offer a strategy that helps minimize complications. In the final analysis, however, the greatest gains in the field of acute asthma will come not from its treatment but from its prevention by enhanced educational and environmental efforts and by the delivery of optimal medications at home.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-230
Number of pages24
JournalCritical Care Nursing Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2004


  • Acute asthma
  • Asthma exacerbations
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • Mechanical ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care


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