Just one of the advantages of being an asthmatic Respiratory Therapist, though the hospital staff might not be so thrilled. They get a little grouchy when the patients start adjusting ventilator settings 🙂
Now for the serious educational part:
The rational for using non -invasive bipap therapy during a severe asthma exacerbations is simply to reduce the work of breathing, thereby improving ventilation and hopefully reducing the need for intubation. To demonstrate this point, below are my ABGs( arterial blood gasses) taken before and after a one hour trial of Bipap. In the first set, you can see my PCO2 has climbed from a normal value of 35-40 into the 50’s and my Ph has dropped from a normal of 7.4 to 7.2, indicating impending respiratory failure. In the 2nd set drawn one 1 hour after being on Bipap, you can see that my ABGs improved significantly. My Ph has returned to normal and my PCO2 has dropped to an acceptable level. Had I not been put on Bipap, I probably would’ve needed intubation and ended up on a ventilator. Not cool.
As much as I hate that mask being strapped to my face when I can’t breath, it certainly beats the alternative. For more about ABGs, check out this instructional post I wrote a few years back.