Acute severe asthma: Recent advances

Vaidehi Kaza, Venkata Bandi, Kalpalatha K. Guntupalli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Acute severe asthma is challenging to the clinician both in terms of recognition and appropriate treatment. About 30% of these episodes need admission to the medical intensive care unit with a mortality of 8%. Relapse rates vary from 7 to 15% depending on how well the patient is managed. The purpose of this review is to discuss recent advances in identification of risk factors, pathophysiology and management of acute severe asthma. RECENT FINDINGS: Although the exact mechanism for acute severe asthma is unclear, some that are implicated include inflammation, airway remodeling and downregulation of β-receptors. None of the environmental factors have been clearly related to the development of near fatal attacks. Genetic polymorphisms have been associated with severe asthma. Lack of steroid responsiveness has been linked to severe asthma attacks. Chemokines and basement membrane changes characteristic of severe asthma are reported in a few studies. Lack of symptom perception in a certain group of patients with acute severe asthma leads to delayed interventions. Specific treatment modalities and ventilator management is reviewed. SUMMARY: Severe asthma is a phenotype of asthma with variable pathology and clinical presentation. Early recognition and timely intervention is needed to prevent significant mortality and morbidity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2007


  • Acute severe asthma
  • Management of acute severe asthma
  • Phenotypes of asthma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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