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Catastrophic Asthma Events

On the thursday night after admission I apparently had one of these BUT I have never heard of them before!

THE night nurse practioner was with patient in next bed cannulatin and she just ran at me abandoning everything else and said triple 222 the on call team NOW!

But even though Im used to attacks for no reason I have never had one that went down with in a minute or so she said!

Ive been instructed NOW on use of adrenalin WHENEVER these happen!

As well as allergies!

You may think Im been totally daft but Im scared as h*ll about this it just seems more to handle in an already fragile health problems that we all seem to have in some form!

Just when is enough though!

13 Replies

Hi Wheezer

sorry you had a rough time. I occasionally have sudden severe attacks and need to use my epipen. I also ensure people round me, such as at work, know that when I go off big time very suddenly to ensure I use / or they use my epipen.

It is frightening and scary and it scares me sometimes.

Have you been to a special asthma unit such as Heartlands or Brompton? Or have you got a good consultant / unit / nurses etc at your local?

I think you need a good long chat with your consultant.

My asthma is chronic more or less all the time which is copeable with, but the sudden severe attacks are worrying. I always have my epipens handy and don't be afraid to use them as soon as you feel a sudden attack comming on.

With adrenalin - it is better to be safe and use it even if it turns out not so bad.

I also carry with me bolus dose of s/c bricanyl to use in an emergency too if I am not using my s/c ventolin infusion.

Hope this helps a bit

Love & Huggs




Kate Thanks

Im ""meant"" to be Dr Mansuur at Heartlands in April BUT my cons is brilliant now and the clinic I see him in is anew upcoming brittle/severe asthma so they would prefer I stay with the team I know now!

As Speedy once pointed me to some of his research I do know now that he is a TOP specialist in his own rights in asthm and allergy its just taken a long-time for me to trust him and so forth!

But as my hossie asthma nurse said when she responded to me wednesday when I rang that it is UNHEARD of that I call her but I MUST apprently do it more IF things react like they probably will!

A friend whos a Dr in Hereford has just emailed saying that

""The term ""catastrophic asthmatic"" was coined by Crompton to describe the asthmatic subject who despite receiving otherwise adequate therapy, develops a very severe asthmatic attack that is sudden in nature.""

Its admittingly scared the life out of me as one mintue I was responding to treatment the next I minute I wasnt!



Sorry forgot to say lol

Ive used adrenaline for my asthma before BUT never as first line treatment which is what they are saying for these catastrophic events, what I mean is I have to reach straight for the Anapen/Adrenaline and not a neb if that makes sense!

Sorry brains is well addled!


Hi Wheezer,

Glad you have a good supportive team!

My Cons is very good but would be happy to refer me to the Brompton if things started getting too chaotic.

Adrenaline - I understand what you mean by first line defence!

Take care & Take it easy




Arghhhh Someone please give me a brain that is not O2 deprived IV addled ;)


sending Addle free brain !!



I too am in kind of a similar position. I had a very nasty attack whilst on the ward at the end of June last year. It was originally thought to be severe anaphylaxis to an IV antibiotic but tests afterwards showed that it wasn't. I just became very tight chested and wheezy I buzzed a nurse who set up a neb for me and for a few minutes it didn't seem to be getting any worse. I was sat forward clutching my feet then all of a sudden I felt warm and floppy and fell backwards on my bed and passed out. I'd gone into respiratory arrest, the staff had phoned my parents to come in at 3am because they didn't think I was going to pull through. They sat my parents down and told them I was dying. That was the hardest thing about it all finding out afterwards what actually went on because for me when I did start to come round it was a headache, jaw ache and a feeling of oh my god where am I? and what happened? I found out through reading notes and off staff that after 2 shots of IM adrenaline I was still rigid, my jaws had locked and I was grey, only after IVs and a shot of IV adrenaline did I start to pick up. I did want to know what had happened but after finding out I wish I hadn't of. Doctors have still not managed to put it down to anything in particular and have said it was a 'red herring'. I've never had an attack like that before and there was no obvious triggers in the room. The Brompton are looking into it but have said it would be hard to say what happened as they weren't there to witness it. That offers no comfort for me and I live in fear of this 'red herring' coming again.

Tks xxx


ok after reading that post back to myself, I realise it does sound pretty scary and maybe I shouldn't of gone into so much detail. So I'm sorry if its scared or upset anybody and I'd be more than happy to take it off if asked to.




Your post is straight to the point and that I am grateful of!

I know during the attack they whacked up high IV amino and I had adrenaline!

But in the 12 hrs after I had another 3 more lots of adrenaline in the form of my anapens!

And back to back to nebs for too many hrs after hrs!

Once I felt I could cope without O2 and IVs I got em discharge me lol

They actually ignored my protocol though that if IV amino doesnt help in 12 hrs to add in IV Bricanyl EVEN with it in my notes!

But am sortijg it out with consultant when I see him and my nurse!


Hello TKS & Wheezer!

Yes, It does sound scary, but other peeps looking at this thread, please don't be alarmed. It is rare for this to happen - well apart from us 3!

Take care all



OOooppps Kates right this is rare so please dont be scared by this thread!

Hmmm what am I doing up so early!


These sorts of sudden attacks happens to me too and i'm well prepared for it as part of the epipen carrying club! I also have secondary attacks due to shifting solid mucus plugs. Messaged wheezer details so not to scare peeps but can i point out that this sort of attack has been happening to me for 27 years it's why my asthma was labelled brittle and yet i'm still here at home posting so don't panic if you're reading this thread. This is a VERY rare type of asthma attack to have but it is something that is treatable with all the normal stuff and you can continue with your mad life despite it!


Told gp about this today and hes upped Anapens to 4 on script so I never run out!

And has emphasised how to use them for these sort of attacks!

Marmite THANKS for the private messages its helped alot!

Im kinda glad to say I feel better knowing I aint the only one!


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