Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children. Previous studies described significant variations in acute asthma management in children. This study was conducted to examine whether asthma management in the pediatric emergency department (ED) was improved through the use of an evidence-based acute asthma care guideline reminder card.
The Pediatric Acute Asthma Management Guideline (PAMG) was introduced to the ED of a pediatric tertiary care hospital in Ontario, Canada. Medical charts of 278 retrospective ED visits (January-December 2002) and 154 prospective visits (July 2003-June 2004) were reviewed to assess changes in acute asthma management such as medication treatment, asthma education, and discharge planning. Logistic and linear regressions were used to determine the effect of PAMG on asthma management in the ED. The propensity score method was used to adjust for confounding.
During the implementation of PAMG, patients who visited the ED were more likely to receive oral corticosteroids (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR] = 2.26, 95% CI: 1.63-3.14, p
In order to evaluate the clinical utility of chest and paranasal sinus radiographs on admission in cases of acute asthma, the radiographs of adult patients admitted to our hospital for acute asthma over a period of 1 year were studied. The findings were specified afterwards by a senior diagnostic radiologist and their impact on the management of asthma was evaluated by reviewing the medical records of the patients retrospectively. Abnormalities were detected in 50% of the chest radiographs (55 of 110) and these resulted in management changes in 5% of cases (6 of 100). Abnormalities in any paranasal sinuses were detected in 85% of the sinus radiographs (93 of 100), and maxillary sinus abnormalities in 63% (70 of 100). 29% of the sinus abnormalities (32 of 110) resulted in an immediate alteration in treatment. Hence abnormalities were more common in the paranasal sinus radiographs than in the chest radiographs (p
To develop a set of comprehensive, standardized evidence-based guidelines for the assessment and treatment of acute asthma in adults in the emergency setting.
The use of medications was evaluated by class, dose, route, onset of action and optimal mode of delivery. The use of objective measurements and clinical features to assess response to therapy were evaluated in relation to the decision to admit or discharge the patient or arrange for follow-up care.
Control of symptoms and disease reflected in hospital admission rates, frequency of treatment failures following discharge, resolution of symptoms and improvement of spirometric test results.
Previous guidelines, articles retrieved through a search of MEDLINE, emergency medical abstracts and information from members of the expert panel were reviewed by members of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) and the Canadian Thoracic Society. Where evidence was not available, consensus was reached by the expert panel. The resulting guidelines were reviewed by members of the parent organizations.
The evidence-based methods and values of the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination were used.
As many as 80% of the approximate 400 deaths from asthma each year in Canada are felt to be preventable. The use of guidelines, aggressive emergency management and consistent use of available options at discharge are expected to decrease the rates of unnecessary hospital admissions and return visits to emergency departments because of treatment failures. Substantial decreases in costs are expected from the use of less expensive drugs, or drug delivery systems, fewer hospital admissions and earlier return to full activity after discharge.
Beta2-agonists are the first-line therapy for the management of acute asthma in the emergency department (grade A recommendation). Bronchodilators should be administered by the inhaled route and titrated using objective and clinical measures of airflow limitation (grade A). Metered-dose inhalers are preferred to wet nebulizers, and a chamber (spacer device) is recommended for severe asthma (grade A). Anticholinergic therapy should be added to beta 2 agonist therapy in severe and life-threatening cases and may be considered in cases of mild to moderate asthma (grade A). Aminophylline is not recommended for use in the first 4 hours of therapy (grade A). Ketamine and succinylcholine are recommended for rapid sequence intubation in life-threatening cases (grade B). Adrenaline (administered subcutaneously or intravenously), salbutamol (administered intravenously) and anesthetics (inhaled) are recommended as alternatives to conventional therapy in unresponsive life-threatening cases (grade B). Severity of airflow limitation should be determined according to the forced expiratory volume at 1 second or the peak expiratory flow rate, or both, before and after treatment and at discharge (grade A). Consideration for discharge should be based on both spirometric test results and assessment of clinical risk factors for relapse (grade A). All patients should be considered candidates for systemic corticosteroid therapy at discharge (grade A). Those requiring corticosteroid therapy should be given 30 to 60 mg of prednisone orally (or equivalent) per day for 7 to 14 days; no tapering is required (grade A). Inhaled corticosteroids are an integral component of therapy and should be prescribed for all patients receiving oral corticosteroid therapy at discharge (grade A). Patients should be given a discharge treatment plan and clear instructions for follow-up care (grade C).
The guidelines share the same principles of those from the British Thoracic Society and the National Institutes of Health. Two specific validation initiatives have been undertaken: (a) several Canadian centres have been involved in the collection of comprehensive administrative data to assess compliance and outcome measures and (b) a survey of Canadian emergency physicians conducted to gather baseline informaton of treatment patterns, was conducted before development of the guidelines and will be repeated to re-evaluate emergency management of asthma.
Despite increasing prevalence of asthma among American Indians and/or Alaska Natives, little is known about their use of traditional healing in its management. A convenience sample of 24 Navajo families with asthmatic members (n=35) was interviewed between June 1997 and September 1998. While 46% of families had previously used traditional healing, only 29% sought traditional healing for asthma. Use of traditional healing was unrelated to use of biomedical therapies, hospitalizations, or emergency services. Practical factors and questions about the nature and origins of asthma were the primary considerations determining use of traditional medicine. Little conflict between traditional healing and biomedical treatment was reported. The use of traditional healing for asthma is influenced by beliefs about the disease and factors specific to the individual, including their local social, economic, and cultural context.
Asthma management is not always optimal, and deficiencies such as inadequate treatment and insufficient patient education are often reported. Towards Excellence in Asthma Management (TEAM) is a four-phase disease management program of the Quebec Asthma Education Network (QAEN), to be carried out over a 5-year period. The program aims to achieve a continuous improvement of asthma management by caregivers and patients. The first phase, completed in January 2000, consisted of determining the actual level of asthma-associated morbidity and mortality in various Quebec regions. The second phase, which began in September 1999, included three parts: 1. Definition of the burden of asthma, taking into account the socioeconomic consequences of the disease and the quality of life of the patients, 2. Comparison of current medical practices with the Canadian Asthma Consensus Guidelines for adult and pediatric populations, 3. Evaluation of the level of compliance with medical treatment and with the environmental changes recommended to asthmatic patients. This phase is carried out via a cohort study of physicians, mainly general practitioners and pediatricians, generating a patient cohort study, in addition to substudies evaluating specific aspects of asthma care. Once the care gap is identified, it will be possible to define, apply, and evaluate a series of interventions for physicians, other health professionals, and patients. The interventions will be particularly targeted at regions where asthma incidence and morbidity are higher. We hope that this model of disease management will progressively reduce the burden associated with asthma, and potentially other chronic diseases, and will result in the more effective use of health services.