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Saturday 01 March 2003

Efficacy of a consensus protocol therapy in adults with acute, severe asthma.

By: Nakano Y, Morita S, Kawamoto A, Naito T, Enomoto N, Suda T, Chida K, Nakamura H.

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2003 Mar;90(3):331-7

BACKGROUND: International guidelines recommend multiple doses of inhaled beta2-agonists and anticholinergics plus early administration of systemic corticosteroids for acute, severe asthma. This study examined the efficacy of this protocol in adults and analyzed those factors associated with unresponsiveness to the protocol therapy. OBJECTIVE: Ninety-three consecutive patients 18 to 55 years old presenting for treatment of acute asthma with a peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) < or = 50% of the predicted value were analyzed. METHODS: All subjects received 400 microg of salbutamol every 20 minutes for three doses and 400 microg of oxitropium bromide with each of the three salbutamol doses by means of a metered-dose inhaler with a spacer device, plus intravenously 8 mg betamethasone. PEFR was measured at baseline and at 20, 40, 60, and 120 minutes. RESULTS: Sixty-nine percent of subjects improved sufficiently to be discharged. In 31% of subjects, the protocol therapy failed. There were no significant differences in age, sex, smoking status, or beta-agonist use within 6 hours between the two groups. Logistic regression analysis demonstrated that a PEFR < 35% of the predicted value at presentation (odds ratio [OR]; 16.3, 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.5 to 59.9), viral respiratory tract infection symptoms > or = 2 days (OR, 4.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 17.1), and asthma hospitalization in the past year (OR, 4.6, 95% CI 1.1 to 19.9) were significantly associated with unresponsiveness to the protocol. CONCLUSIONS: Unresponsiveness to protocol therapy occurs in nearly one-third of individuals presenting with acute, severe asthma. Our findings underscore the need to explore more effective strategies for improving lung function and reducing hospital admission rates.

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