Initial Assessment of Severity of Acute Asthma in Children

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(From The Australian Asthma Management Handbook)

Symptoms

Mild

Moderate

Severe/life-threatening

Central cyanosis Absent Absent Present
Use of accessory muscles Absent Moderate Marked
Sternal retraction
(in young children)
Absent Moderate Marked
Talks in Sentences Phrases Words
Wheeze on auscultation Present Present Silent chest
Altered consciousness No No Yes
Pulsus paradoxus No No/Yes Yes
Physical exhaustion No No Yes
Initial peak flow or FEV1 (% predicted or % child's best) > 60% 40-60% < 40%
Oximetry on presentation (SaO2) > 94% 90-94% < 90%