Asthma is a lifelong disease and inflammatory condition of the small, conducting airways, or bronchioles, which results in constriction of those airways and an increase in production of secretions. The narrowed diameter of the bronchiole results in the patient being able to breathe in but to have difficulty in breathing out during exhalation. Symptoms include wheezing, breathlessness, a feeling of chest tightness and intractable coughing. The inability to fully expire a complete breath leads to dynamic hyperinflation and an increase in the work required to breathe. This difficulty in breathing makes it hard to clear the excess secretions being produced in response to the inflammation.

The disease can be extrinsic meaning that it is clearly associated with a specific antigenic agent like dust, weeds, pet dander or food preservatives and the like. This is also known as allergic or atopic asthma. Bronchoconstriction is activated by a hypersensitivity to the antigen the individual is being exposed to. Intrinsic asthma is asthma that cannot be linked to a direct antigen that the individual is hypersensitive to. Supportive treatment for both during an acute attack is essentially the same.

Vapotherm High Flow Therapy Treatment (HFT)

Vapotherm high flow therapy can reduce work of breathing during an asthma attack.

Vapotherm provides efficient delivery of oxygen (up to 100%) and flushing of the upper airway of carbon dioxide to help reduce the work of breathing for a person experiencing shortness of breath and/or respiratory failure. This relieves the respiratory distress while bronchodilators, steroids and other therapies relieve the airway inflammation and constriction.

In addition to providing specific oxygen levels at high flow rates, Vapotherm also has a device that can provide a blend of helium and oxygen to further assist in the reduction in work of breathing. The Precision Flow Heliox is an integrated system calibrated specifically for heliox 20/80, and designed for rapid application in emergency and intensive care settings. The lower density reduces the work of breathing by reducing the force needed to move gas through the airways. Heliox is commonly used on patients with restrictive airway disorders to improve breathing mechanics and gas exchange.

Successful application of HFT may help to prevent the need for more invasive therapies like non-invasive positive pressure ventilation or mechanical ventilation through an endotracheal tube. By delivering air and oxygen at body temperature with humidification, Vapotherm not only helps to prevent drying and destruction of the nasal tissue but also helps to re-hydrate the upper airway and improve mobilization of secretions and airway clearance. An additional benefit of this conditioned gas for the asthmatic patient is that this warmed gas promotes bronchodilation and a relaxing of the smooth muscle tissue.

For more information on contraindications, please visit the Precision Flow product page.

Information on the indices of asthma sourced from the Center for Disease Control.


  • Around 1 in 12, or about 25 million people, in the US have been diagnosed with asthma.  This translates into roughly 8% of all adults and 9% of all children.

  • Asthma accounts for more than 10 million outpatient visits and almost 25% of all emergency department visits resulting in more than 450,000 hospital admissions each year.

  • Each day, 4,700 people visit the emergency department and 9 Americans die from asthma.