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Marijuana Use and the Development of Status Asthmaticus: A Case Report

DOI: 10.4236/ojanes.2012.23015    3,904 Downloads   6,297 Views  

ABSTRACT

Introduction: Status asthmaticus is an acute exacerbation of asthma caused by increased airflow resistance and mucus plugging. Symptoms of dyspnea may lead to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest. There is limited knowledge about the effects of marijuana on pulmonary function. We report a unique case of status asthmaticus related to frequent marijuana use. Case Presentation: A 38-year-old African American male with a past medical history of asthma and two prior episodes of status asthmaticus arrived at Saint Barnabas Medical Center with dyspnea and wheezing that was refractory to home albuterol nebulizer therapy. Despite medical treatment his symptoms did not improve and he collapsed to the floor and required intubation and mechanical ventilation. He reported having smoked marijuana numerous times on the day prior to this admission. He was discharged three days later and was strongly advised to stop smoking marijuana. Conclusion: Marijuana is a commonly smoked illicit drug. Although habitual marijuana smokers have symptoms of cough, phlegm and wheezing, we found no reports linking marijuana use to the development of status asthmaticus. Given the rampant abuse of marijuana and its likely burden on healthcare, physicians should be vigilant in discussing the harmful effects of marijuana with asthmatic patients who abuse this drug.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

L. Alexis, S. Bhangle and K. Fless, "Marijuana Use and the Development of Status Asthmaticus: A Case Report," Open Journal of Anesthesiology, Vol. 2 No. 3, 2012, pp. 62-64. doi: 10.4236/ojanes.2012.23015.

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