Which histologic findings suggest status asthmaticus?

Updated: Jun 17, 2020
  • Author: Constantine K Saadeh, MD; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Answer

Autopsy results from patients who died from status asthmaticus of brief duration (ie, developed within hours) show neutrophilic infiltration of the airways. In contrast, results from patients who developed status asthmaticus over days show eosinophilic infiltration; this is more common and is associated with eosinophil up-regulation. Autopsy results also show extensive mucus production and severe bronchial smooth muscle hypertrophy. However, the predominant response, based on results from bronchoalveolar lavage studies, is eosinophilic in nature.

The eosinophil itself can lead to epithelial destruction through its own degrading products (eg, cationic proteins). This destruction can result in inflammation and, later, a neutrophilic response.


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