Prolonged severe hypercapnia complicating near fatal asthma in a 35-year-old woman

Intensive Care Med. 1998 Dec;24(12):1335-8. doi: 10.1007/s001340050772.


Objective: We describe a patient with a prolonged and severe hypercapnia occurring during an episode of status asthmaticus induced by ophthalmic instillation of carteolol.

Setting: Prehospital Emergency Medical Service and Pulmonary Intensive Care Unit in a university hospital.

Patient: A 35-year-old female developed an acute asthma attack while at home, which required advanced life support.

Intervention: On hospital admission, arterial blood gases revealed a PaCO2 of 208 mmHg. Hypercapnia persisted with a PaCO2 of more than 190 mmHg for 10 h, with pH always less than 7.00. The patient was finally discharged after 26 days without sequelae.

Conclusion: This case illustrates the cerebral and cardiovascular tolerance of severe and prolonged hypercapnia associated with major acidosis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis, Respiratory / complications*
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Carteolol / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Hypercapnia / complications*
  • Status Asthmaticus / chemically induced
  • Status Asthmaticus / complications*
  • Status Asthmaticus / physiopathology


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Carteolol