Mechanical ventilation in the asthmatic child may be complicated by dynamic air trapping leading to hemodynamic compromise and cardiac arrest. High-frequency oscillatory ventilation is relatively contraindicated because it may cause hyperinflation compared to conventional mechanical ventilation. A 2-year-old girl (weight, 11 kg) with a history of asthma was admitted because of status asthmaticus. Despite treatment with intravenous methylprednisolone, continuous albuterol, terbutaline, aminophylline, and magnesium sulfate, she had persistent respiratory distress. She required endotracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation because of worsening respiratory fatigue and hypercarbia ((PCO), 96 mm Hg). Severe airflow obstruction persisted, and the hypercarbia worsened despite conventional mechanical ventilation (PCO > 134 mm Hg). It was judged that the patient was at risk for dynamic air trapping leading to hemodynamic compromise and cardiac arrest. High-frequency oscillatory ventilation was started to overcome airflow obstruction, and a decrease in arterial PCO to 87 mm Hg was observed within 2 h. High-frequency oscillatory ventilation was discontinued after 5 h, and conventional mechanical ventilation resumed. The patient was extubated after 5 days without further complications. In summary, this case shows that high-frequency oscillatory ventilation may be considered as a rescue treatment in children who have severe status asthmaticus with persistent airflow obstruction and hypercarbia unresponsive to pharmacological therapy and conventional mechanical ventilation.
© The Author(s) 2020.

References

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