Asthma and Other Lung Diseases Emergency Room: 10 Tips
Asthma is a common lung disease caused by a long-term inflammation of the breathing passages known as bronchioles. This makes the airways of a patient contract(bronchospasm) and narrows further making it difficult to exhale from the lungs. This resistance is what leads to an asthma attack.
It’s also known as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) because it causes obstruction or resistance to exhaled air. Other lung diseases include Pneumonia, Tuberculosis, and Lung Cancer.
FrontLine ER show you some of the ways lung related diseases can be managed in an emergency room.
Most patients who show up at the ER because of asthma or other lung diseases mostly have a problem with breathing. In such scenarios, oxygen is administered through a face mask or a tube that will go in through their nose. Oxygen therapy can help especially if you have shortness of breath that may have been caused by very low oxygen levels in the blood.
Aerosolized Beta-Agonist Medication
The medication is also administered through a face mask or a nebulizer with an anticholinergic agent. Alternatively, a metered dose inhaler (MDI) can also be used to dispense the medication. MDI delivers the standard dose of medication per puff. It can also be used together with a spacer or holding chamber. The advantage of an MDI is that it does not require any assistance from a respiratory therapist.
Chest radiology is the most crucial test that can help in diagnosing lung disease or any problems with the upper respiratory tract. A chest x-ray is performed mostly if there is a poor response to the initial treatment. They can detect pneumonia, cancer around the lung, and also show persistent lung conditions such as cystic fibrosis or any heart-related lung problem.
Blood tests are used to determine a person’s overall health and, in some cases, its performed as a means to determine the presence of bacterial pathogens. This gives room for a more specific therapy. Routine blood cultures are done to provide accuracy of the diagnosis.
A CT Scan will show if the arteries are enlarged and it can also spot other problems that could cause shortness of breath. Ventilation-perfusion scan can help show blood clots that may cause high blood pressure in the lungs. Although it may not be able to give a definitive diagnosis, chest CT Scan is more effective than the normal x-ray. It may also help in the evaluation of cancer, pneumonia, blood clots, and the damage that has been caused by smoking or any other lung diseases.
Calcium Channel Blockers
A patient who has severe pulmonary hypertension can be given medication known as Calcium Channel Blockers or calcium antagonists. They help to lower blood pressure in the lungs by preventing calcium from entering the heart cells and blood vessel walls. They also help to relax and widen the blood vessels. If the medication is not enough then he/she may be referred to a specialist.
A pulse oximeter is placed on your finger to check for any signs of infection in the bloodstream. It can also be used to determine how much carbon dioxide and oxygen is saturated in the bloodstream. It’s beneficial for patients with acute respiratory or cardiac problems in order to detect abnormalities.
Also known as maintenance medication helps to control lung airway inflammation. Controller medication is an option for mild asthma because they are to be taken on a daily basis over a period of time. This is to help prevent symptoms from recurring.
This is for controlling short-term emergencies. It means that they are only taken only when you have symptoms or when you believe that you are likely to have an attack. For instance, if you have an infection in the respiratory tract, it’s good to start the treatment in advance before you are caught off guard.
Rescue medication is intended to be used immediately for severe asthma attack because they are fast acting and it’s good to keep them handy wherever you go.
If a patient is already on steroid medication or they have recently stopped taking them and this appears to be a severe attack, the steroids may be dispensed by intravenous infusion (IV). It is recommended in cases where you may need directly targeted therapy.
People with breathing disorders especially those with COPD can sometimes wait until it’s too late to seek treatment. Chest and lung-related diseases are life-threatening if not addressed on time. This only complicates things and you need to get to the ER soonest to avoid possibilities of a surgery, like a lung transplant which may be very expensive. Should you experience signs and symptoms, make your way to FrontLine ER for specialized treatment that will help improve symptoms of these diseases.