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A Journal on Anesthesiology, Resuscitation, Analgesia and Intensive Care

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Anesthesiology, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care
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Minerva Anestesiologica 2001 May;67(5):413-7

language: Italian

Life threatening asthma associated to severe pneumonia and acute myopathy

Girardis M., Raffaelli M. *, Flore I. *, Pressacco C. *, Pasetto A.

Università degli Studi - Modena e Reggio Emilia Cattedra di Anestesiologia e Rianimazione
* Università degli Studi - Udine Cattedra di Anestesiologia e Rianimazione


A young male was transferred to our intensive care unit (ICU) from the intensive care unit of a local hospital where he was admitted for life-threatening asthma ten days before. As severe hypoxemia, we immediately started inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) that improved significantly pulmonary gas exchange. The first day after admission in our ICU, a chest computed tomography showed a three-lobar pneumonia and, therefore, a broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy was decided. iNO therapy was withdrawn 96 hours after the beginning because of a stable improvement of pulmonary gas exchange and a relative loss of efficacy. Five days after arrival in our ICU, sedative and neuromuscular blocking drugs initiated 15 days before were stopped and, after the awakening, the patient presented tetra-paresis. Muscle biopsy and electromyography indicated an acute myopathy that was probably caused by the association between large doses of steroids and neuromuscular blocking agents. In spite of an intensive physiotherapy program, the patient was extubated only 15 days after admission and he underwent non-invasive mechanical ventilation for further 7 days. The patient was discharged from our ICU 10 days after extubation with a good restore of muscle functioning which was complete two months later.

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