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  1. Kelley, Pamela J. MS, RN, CPNP
  2. Arney, Traci D. MN, RN, CFNP, AE-C


The number of children with a diagnosis of asthma has increased significantly over the years, and asthma currently is the most common pediatric chronic disease. Asthma continues to take the lives of children at an alarming rate. Proper diagnosis, education, and appropriate management are essential for decreasing morbidity and mortality. Asthma can be diagnosed with a thorough medical history, family history, and physical examination. Diagnostic and assessment tools such as pulmonary function tests and pediatric asthma scores are valuable for determining the severity of asthma. Immediate assessment and initiation of appropriate medications and management are essential for a positive outcome. The use of bronchodilator therapy with corticosteroids is the gold standard for acute asthma exacerbation, but it may not be effective for certain moderate to severe exacerbations. This article discusses the prevalence, pathophysiology, and diagnosis and treatment of asthma, including the role of magnesium sulfate for acute asthma exacerbations.