Which physical findings are characteristic of severe episodes of pediatric asthma?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Kenan Haver, MD  more...
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Findings during a severe episode include the following:

  • Respiratory rate is often greater than 30 breaths per minute

  • Accessory muscles of respiration are usually used

  • Suprasternal retractions are commonly present

  • The heart rate is greater than 120 beats per minute

  • Loud biphasic (expiratory and inspiratory) wheezing can be heard

  • Pulsus paradoxus is often present (20-40 mm Hg)

  • Oxyhemoglobin saturation with room air is less than 91%

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