High dose, fast delivery magnesium sulphate in a 3-year-old acute severe asthmatic

John R Elton, Karen Mclachlan, Anujia Amarasekara, William Frederick Sellers


Acute severe asthma when respiratory failure is imminent is not addressed in world asthma guidelines. Intravenous magnesium sulphate, salbutamol and aminophylline all have advocates but what order, speed of delivery or dosage is left up to the individual physician treating the patient. A child in respiratory failure was given a large, fast dose of intravenous magnesium sulphate before intravenous salbutamol which relaxed bronchial smooth muscle immediately and tracheal intubation and lung ventilation was avoided. Justification for this treatment is discussed.
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