Asthma Patient Management

Management of Adequate and Inadequate Respiration

A. Respiratory Compromise

1. Assure an adequate airway

2. Review supplemental oxygen therapy

3. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)/Bi-Level Positive Airway

Pressure (BiPAP)

a. Definitions/Purpose

i. CPAP – device to provide continuous positive airway

pressure in the spontaneously breathing patient

ii. BiPAP – device to provide differential positive airway

pressure in the spontaneously breathing patient.

a) higher positive pressure during inspiration (e.g., 10

cm water pressure)

b) lower positive pressure during expiration (e.g., 5 cm

water pressure)

c) Augments patient’s spontaneous breathing with

positive pressure ventilation during inspiration

iii. increase lung compliance

iv. reduce alveolar collapse

v. increase laminar airflow

vi. decrease intubation rates

b. Indications

i. CHF/Acute pulmonary edema

ii. COPD/Asthma

iii. near drowning

iv. similar equipment may be used for home treatment of sleep


c. Contraindications

i. inability to tolerate the mask

d. Complications

i. requires adequate tidal volume

ii. patient must be alert and follow instructions

iii. patient must tolerate mask

iv. gastric insufflation

v. vomiting and aspiration risk

vi. barotrauma

vii. facial hair

viii. dysmorphic faces

e. Procedure

4. Assisted positive pressure ventilations

a. Purpose/definition

b. Indications

c. Contraindications

d. Complications

Lower airway disease

a. Asthma

b. Bronchiolitis -- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is common


i. Highly contagious

ii. Most common in infants under one year

                                      iii. Infections usually occur epidemically in the winter

Review of all medications used to treat asthma:

  • Albuterol
  • Duo-Neb
  • Corticosteroids
  • Epinephrine


Content Creator: Josh Renolds

CAPCE Course Number: 20-EMTP-F3-3206

Total CE Hours: 1

Level: Advanced

EMT-CE uses the NEMSES guidelines as the foundation for every course outline.