How is the severity of acute asthma assessed?

The following are features of severe asthma:

  • Previous history of severe acute asthma indicates that any further attack should be regarded as severe.
  • Lack of response to bronchodilator therapy
  • Inability to speak or cry or feed due to severe respiratory distress
  • Cyanosis
  • Oxygen saturation below 90%

A silent chest when examined with a stethoscope or peak expiratory flow rate below 60% indicates severe asthma.

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