Pharmacology Simulation Scenario: Respiratory Failure due to Asthma Exacerbation

Format Publication ID Version Published
Case 7965 1 February 23, 2010
Loma Linda University School of Medicine


This is a manikin-based simulation case involving a 22-year-old male who presents to an emergency room with progressive shortness of breath due to an asthma exacerbation. During the initial emergency room treatment, he develops respiratory failure requiring intubation. This resource is one of 3 respiratory simulation cases developed as part of a 2nd year medical school pharmacology curriculum. These cases were developed to help medical students integrate basic science principles taught in traditional lectures with real life clinical scenarios. In this scenario, the learner needs to rapidly assess a patient with an acute asthma exacerbation, describe the mechanism of action of various pharmacologic agents used in the treatment of status asthmatics, and then determine the most likely physiologic responses after the administration of select medications. Finally, the learner must proceed to intubation of this patient, after pharmacologic therapy fails.


Beck J, Romo C, Denmark K. Pharmacology Simulation Scenario: Respiratory Failure due to Asthma Exacerbation. MedEdPORTAL; 2010. Available from:

Educational Objectives

  1. Refer to the resource file for a discussion of educational objectives.


  • Intubation, Respiratory Failure, Physical Diagnosis Evaluation Pathophysiology, Rapid Sequence Induction, Bag Mask Ventilation, Asthma (MeSH), Oxygen Consumption (MeSH)


  • Medical
    • Emergency Medicine
    • Pulmonary Disease

Competencies Addressed

  • Medical
    • Medical Knowledge
    • Patient Care
    • Practice-based Learning & Improvement

Academic Focus

  • Basic Sciences
    • Pathology
    • Pharmacology/Toxicology
    • Physiology
  • Clinical Sciences
    • Clinical Exam

Professional Interest

  • Evaluation of Clinical Performance
  • Instructional Materials/Methods

Organ Systems

  • Respiratory system

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Medical Student

Instructional Methods

  • Simulation

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