In 1987 the Danish National Health Board registered 223 deaths from asthma, and even after correction for errors this is an increase during the last decade. The increase is remarkable, because the antiinflammatory treatment during the same period has been intensified, and a reduction in lethal asthma was expected. Available records of the terminal courses are studied and referred, and it is concluded that well-known risk factors such as severe asthma, previous attacks of acute severe asthma and undertreatment can only explain half of the cases. The onset of maximal asthma treatment is delayed from three to 24 hours, averagely five hours from the first warning sign. The onset of treatment is dependent on the patients' own estimation of their actual state, and it is therefore concluded that better education of asthmatics in objectivizing their lung function is desirable. It is estimated that some asthma deaths might be avoided if the patients are given better and more frequent antiinflammatory treatment, if they use peak-flow meters regularly and if they cooperate with their doctor in working out a personal, specific plan of action in case of warning signs.