Last reviewed: November 2017
Last updated: November  2017

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • tachypnea
  • chest tightness

Other diagnostic factors

  • cough
  • exercise limitation
  • tachycardia
  • inability to speak or feed
  • intercostal, subcostal, or sternal retraction
  • accessory muscle use
  • pulsus paradoxus
  • sleep disturbance
  • bradycardia
  • cyanosis
  • exhaustion
  • decreased consciousness level

Risk factors

  • viral infection
  • inhaled allergens
  • exercise
  • nonadherence with regular asthma medication
  • history of other atopic disease
  • family history of atopic disease
  • previous history of severe asthma exacerbation
  • low socioeconomic status
  • environmental irritants
  • bacterial infection
  • emotion
  • obesity
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use

Diagnostic investigations

1st investigations to order

  • therapeutic trial with a short-acting beta-2 agonist
  • peak expiratory flow rate or FEV1
Full details

Investigations to consider

  • arterial/venous blood gases
  • CXR
Full details

Treatment algorithm

Contributors

Authors VIEW ALL

Staff Specialist

Department of Respiratory Medicine

Children's Hospital at Westmead

Senior Lecturer

Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health

Sydney Medical School

University of Sydney

Sydney

New South Wales

Australia

Disclosures

PDR declares that he has no competing interests.

Professor

Menzies School of Health Research

Charles Darwin University

Northern Territory

Respiratory and Sleep Physician

Royal Children's Hospital

Brisbane

Australia

Disclosures

AC has received research funds from governmental bodies such as Australian National Health and Medical Research Council. AC is an author of a reference cited in this monograph.

Peer reviewers VIEW ALL

Professor of Pediatrics

University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital

Chicago

IL

Disclosures

LAL declares that she has no competing interests.

Consultant in Paediatrics

Adolescent Medicine & Paediatric Respiratory Medicine

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

London

UK

Disclosures

CM declares that he has no competing interests.

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