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Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2009 Sep 4;17:40. doi: 10.1186/1757-7241-17-40.

Emergency presentation and management of acute severe asthma in children.

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Department of Paediatrics, Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger, Norway.


Acute severe asthma is one of the most common medical emergency situations in childhood, and physicians caring for acutely ill children are regularly faced with this condition. In this article we present a summary of the pathophysiology as well as guidelines for the treatment of acute severe asthma in children. The cornerstones of the management of acute asthma in children are rapid administration of oxygen, inhalations with bronchodilators and systemic corticosteroids. Inhaled bronchodilators may include selective b2-agonists, adrenaline and anticholinergics. Additional treatment in selected cases may involve intravenous administration of theophylline, b2-agonists and magnesium sulphate. Both non-invasive and invasive ventilation may be options when medical treatment fails to prevent respiratory failure. It is important that relevant treatment algorithms exist, applicable to all levels of the treatment chain and reflecting local considerations and circumstances.

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