Which physical findings are associated with an acute asthma episode?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

During a mild episode, patients may be breathless after physical activity such as walking; they can talk in sentences and lie down; and they may be agitated. Patients with mild acute asthma are able to lie flat. In a mild episode, the respiratory rate is increased, and accessory muscles of respiration are not used. The heart rate is less than 100 bpm, and pulsus paradoxus (an exaggerated fall in systolic blood pressure during inspiration) is not present. Auscultation of the chest reveals moderate wheezing, which is often end expiratory. Rapid forced expiration may elicit wheezing that is otherwise inaudible, and oxyhemoglobin saturation with room air is greater than 95%.


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