January 23, 2019

Take Home Points
  1. Single dose oral dexamethasone is an excellent choice for asthma exacerbations. It takes away the compliance issue for patients who have trouble getting medications or filling medications once they leave the ED.
  2. Antibiotics aren’t always indicated in COPD exacerbations, but are used much more frequently than in asthma exacerbations because the structural changes in the patient’s lung lead to increased bacterial colonization. In general, if the patient has increased cough or sputum production, they probably would benefit from a course of antibiotics
  3. In general, azithro alone is no longer a good choice as solo covereage for community acquired pneumonia.  Adding either amoxicillin or cefdinir to you amoxicillin should get you good coverage of both strep pneumo and atypicals.

August 9, 2018

Background: Acute asthma exacerbations are a common presentation to pediatric emergency departments (EDs). Standard treatment with inhaled beta agonists and corticosteroids are often sufficient in mild asthma but can fall short in the treatment of moderate to severe exacerbations. Magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) has long been touted as an adjunct treatment due to its bronchodilatory properties (both in its intravenous (IV) and nebulized form). Despite its routine use, the evidence for its benefit is inconsistent, particularly in the adult population where the most recent large RCT demonstrated modest benefits (Goodacre 2013).

August 11, 2016

Background: Acute asthma presentations account for more than 2.1 million Emergency Department (ED) visits annually. In the US, 8.4% of the population is affected by the disease. Current guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute recommend a minimum of 5 days of oral prednisone to treat moderate to severe asthma exacerbations (NHLBI Guidelines 2007). Oral and parenteral dexamethasone have similar bioavailability, with a duration of action of 72 hours. There has been promising data on dexamethasone for acute asthma from the pediatric literature, as well as a 2-dose regimen in adults. However, due to the strong association with low patient adherence and poor outcomes, a single dose of a long acting oral medication in the ED may help prevent relapse of symptoms.

August 12, 2015

This post is meant to accompany the REBEL Cast episode on The Crashing Asthmatic from June 2015. This blog post will also be simultaneously posted on the Core EM site here. Come over and check out our core content offerings. Thanks to the REBEL team for continuing to promote our site!

Definition: An episode of wheezing, chest tightness or coughing resulting from variable airflow obstruction that is reversible. Underlying exacerbations are a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways.

June 1, 2015

Acute severe asthma, formerly called status asthmaticus, is defined as severe asthma unresponsive to repeated courses of beta-agonist therapy or subcutaneous epinephrine. It is a medical emergency that requires immediate recognition and treatment. Recently, Anand Swaminathan (Twitter: @EMSwami) gave a lecture to the residents at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) February 2015. This post is a summary of that lecture on how to manage the crashing asthmatic.