Continuing Professional Development: Epinephrine and its use in acute life-threatening asthma in adults

OverviewThis CPD module, will act as revision of existing treatments for acute asthma exacerbations, as well as discussing the indications for use of epinephrine in asthma and the potential problems you may encounter with its use.Although epinephrine has been used for many years in other medical emergencies, such as anaphylaxis, is not widely used for asthma exacerbations. This module will discuss a number of different methods for the delivery of epinephrine; however it should be appreciated that not all of these routes are suitable for use in asthma.You will also have the opportunity to reflect and consolidate your existing clinical knowledge of epinephrine, as well as providing a basis for further learning about the pre-hospital management of acute asthma exacerbations.There are a number of resources available through the ‘Journal of Paramedic Practice’, and other guidelines and information available to supplement your learning; in particular from the British Thoracic Society, Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network and Joint Royal Colleges Ambulance Liaison Committee.Learning OutcomesAfter completing this module you will:• Describe and use the clinical findings with which to determine the severity of an asthma exacerbation.• Understand that asthma is a condition with a significant mortality rate, and patients can rapidly deteriorate without appropriate resuscitation.• Understand the different pharmacological treatments in acute asthma, and their uses in current guidelines and protocols.• Appreciate the emerging role of epinephrine in pre-hospital practice and the different routes by which it can be given.• Identity and reflect upon personal areas of concerns in the pre-hospital management of acute asthma exacerbations.

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