My 16 year old niece was recovering at home from pneumonia when she had an asthma attack and suffered respiratory arrest. She was resuscitated and hospitalized but her condition deteriorated and she passed away a few days later due to respiratory complications. What is respiratory arrest and are all asthma sufferers vulnerable to it? She never had respiratory arrest before during an asthma attack and we thought that she was getting better after the pneumonia. Thank you.
This is a very sad story. Respiratory arrest is when the breathing stops. This is not a common problem, but obviously can occur with both asthma and with pneumonia. All asthmatics are vulnerable to having a severe attack and suffering a fatal outcome. Unfortunately, this is not well known by the public.
My condolances. Asthma is a very complicated disease. I read a study that demonstrated that people who don't have chronic asthma have a higher fatality rate than those who do. Presumably because those with chronic asthma always have a bronchodilator such as albuterol on hand at all times. Attacks can be sudden, and it's like falling off a cliff. The rapidity with which the situation deteriorates is frightening. The patient who has just developed asthma, or has only had an attack or two, may be reluctant to summon immediate aid. It's natural not to want to bother people. That reluctance can contribute to a very bad outcome.
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