What needs to be monitored in patients receiving mechanical ventilation for the treatment of status asthmaticus?

Updated: Jun 17, 2020
  • Author: Constantine K Saadeh, MD; Chief Editor: John J Oppenheimer, MD  more...
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Patients require supportive measures and monitoring during mechanical ventilation. Ideally, monitor flow-volume loops to ascertain if adequate time is provided for exhalation to avoid breath stacking, which occurs if the next breath is delivered before exhalation is completed. Monitoring exhaled tidal volume and auto-PEEP is also important.

Fluids and electrolytes should be monitored. Before arrival in the hospital, children with status asthmaticus have often had diminished oral intake and may have been vomiting because of respiratory difficulty or adverse effects from their medications. This leads to decreased intravascular volume status that may be potentiated by the effects of positive pressure ventilation. Moreover, serum electrolyte levels should be monitored because medications used to treat asthma can result in significant kaliuresis.

In addition, cardiac output may be decreased because of decreased preload that results from air trapping and auto-PEEP. This decreased cardiac output and intravascular volume may be accompanied by metabolic acidosis. Intravascular fluid expansion is needed to treat hypoperfusion, hypotension, or metabolic acidosis.

In addition, diastolic hypotension may occasionally result from high doses of beta-agonists. A vasoconstrictor (ie, norepinephrine, phenylephrine) may be considered if significant diastolic hypotension in the face of adequate intravascular volume persists.

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