What are the initial physical findings in status asthmaticus?

Updated: Jun 17, 2020
  • Author: Constantine K Saadeh, MD; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Patients are usually tachypneic upon examination and, in the early stages of status asthmaticus, may have significant wheezing. Initially, wheezing is heard only during expiration, but wheezing later occurs during expiration and inspiration.

The chest is hyperexpanded, and accessory muscles, particularly the sternocleidomastoid, scalene, and intercostal muscles, are used. Later, as bronchoconstriction worsens, the wheezing may disappear, which may indicate severe airflow obstruction.

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