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Bronchospasm

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Bronchospasm is a narrowing of the airway that usually comes and goes. You may be at risk for bronchospasm if you have a chest cold or allergies. You may also be at risk if you are bothered by air pollution, certain medicines, cold, dry air, smoke, or strong odors. Exercise may worsen your symptoms. Bronchospasms may make it hard for you to breathe.

WHILE YOU ARE HERE:

Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

An IV

is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

A pulse oximeter

is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.

Medicines:

  • Bronchodilators help expand your airway for easier breathing. Some of these medicines may help prevent future spasms.
  • Inhaled steroids help reduce swelling in your airway and soothe your breathing. These are used for long-term control.
  • Anticholinergics help relax and open your airway.

Tests:

  • Arterial blood gas tests check for the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood. Blood is taken from an artery (blood vessel) in your wrist, arm, or groin. The results can tell healthcare providers how well your lungs are working.
  • Blood tests may be done to see if your bronchospasm is caused by an infection.
  • Pulmonary function tests help healthcare providers learn how well your lungs work. During the test, you breathe into a mouthpiece connected to a machine. The machine measures how much air you breathe in and out over a certain amount of time.

Treatment:

  • Oxygen will be given if your blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. You may get oxygen through a mask placed over your nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in your nostrils. Ask your healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
  • A nebulizer is a machine that turns liquid medicine into a mist. You breathe in this mist through a mouthpiece.

RISKS:

You may not be able to exercise as much or as easily as you would like. Severe bronchospasm may be life-threatening.

CARE AGREEMENT:

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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