Which physical findings are associated with a moderately severe asthma episode?

Updated: Nov 20, 2020
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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In a moderately severe episode, the respiratory rate also is increased. Typically, accessory muscles of respiration are used. In children, also look for supraclavicular and intercostal retractions and nasal flaring, as well as abdominal breathing. The heart rate is 100-120 bpm. Loud expiratory wheezing can be heard, and pulsus paradoxus may be present (10-20 mm Hg). Oxyhemoglobin saturation with room air is 91-95%. Patients experiencing a moderately severe episode are breathless while talking, and infants have feeding difficulties and a softer, shorter cry. In more severe cases, the patient assumes a sitting position.

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