Intensive care management of status asthmaticus has
advanced in recent years. Knowledge of the inflammatory basis of severe
asthma and the pathophysiologic consequences of airway
obstruction1 has translated into improvements in the
medical and ventilatory approaches.
Still, status asthmaticus carries a significant risk of morbidity and
mortality in the ICU. In this issue of CHEST (see page
1616), Afessa and colleagues present an observational study of 132
medical ICU admissions for status asthmaticus in an urban hospital.
There was a notable predominance of African-American patients (67%)
and women (79%). Invasive mechanical ventilation was required in 48
patients (36%), and noninvasive ventilation was initiated in 27
patients (20%), 5 of whom subsequently required intubation.