Critical Care

How are breathing treatments administered in the ER?

A Answers (1)

  • AKathleen Handal, MD, Emergency Medicine, answered
    If you require a breathing treatment to help you breathe better, the medication will be given through a jet nebulizer and administered by a respiratory technician or nurse who will stay by your side throughout the treatment. As you breathe, the medication will be forced into your lungs through a connection to a compressed air or oxygen source. If, during treatment, you experience a sensation out of the ordinary, speak up.

    Before and after a breathing treatment your peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) will be measured with a meter. It is best to conduct this measurement while standing, if your condition permits. You’ll be asked exhale forcefully and rapidly with lips sealed around the meter’s mouthpiece. This allows your emergency medicine (EM) doctor to determine if there has been measurable improvement in your breathing. Age and height are factors important in determining normal PEFR.
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