Bronchial asthma is a serious disease which carries a potential threat to life. Deaths from asthma have risen alarmingly in Britain in recent years in spite of the availability of powerful drugs to combat the attack. Overdosage from pressurized aerosols containing isoprenaline is common and is undoubtedly a factor in the rise in asthma deaths by causing fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Corticosteroid drugs in large doses are needed in all severe exacerbations of asthma and failure to respond to this group of drugs, especially when the arterial carbon dioxide tension is rising, is an urgent indication for assisted ventilation.
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