|Respiratory Care Education|
A 37 y/o black female with a history of asthma, presents to the ER with tachypnea, and acute shortness of breath with audible wheezing. Patient has taken her prescribed medications of Cromolyn Sodium and Ventolin at home with no relief of symptoms prior to coming to the ER. A physical exam revealed the following: HR 110, RR 40 with signs of accessory muscle use. Ausculation revealed decreased breath sounds with inspiratory and expiratory wheezing and pt was coughing up small amounts of white sputum. SaO2 was 93% on room air. An arterial blood gas (ABG) was ordered with the following results: pH 7.5, PaCO2 27, PaO2 75. An aerosol treatment was ordered and given with 0.5 cc Ventolin with 3.0 cc normal saline in a small volume nebulizer for 10 minutes. Peak flows done before and after the treatment were 125/250 and ausculation revealed loud expiratory wheezing and better airflow. 20 minutes later a second treatment was given with the above meds. Peak flows before and after showed improvements of 230/360 and on ausculation there was clearing of breath sounds and much improved airflow. RR was 24 at this time and HR 108. Symptoms resolved and patient was given prescription for inhaled steroids to be used with current home meds. Instruction was given for use of inhaled steroids and the patient was sent home.
This case is an example of what many people with asthma experience. The following discussion will cover the etiology, pathogenesis, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of asthma. Complete the following sections and take the quiz to check your understanding.
Learning Objectives: after completing the sections below, you should be able to:
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