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Chest. 1990 Dec;98(6):1346-50.

Aminophylline in the outpatient management of decompensated chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

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  • 1Ambulatory Care Service, VA Medical Center, Albuquerque 87108.


The objective of this study was to determine if IV aminophylline reduces the risk of relapse after treatment of decompensated COPD in an ED. Forty-six visits in which IV aminophylline was given (T visits) were compared with an equal number of visits in which it was withheld (N visits) with respect to pretreatment serum theophylline level, number of treatments with nebulized bronchodilators and use of parenteral beta-adrenergic drugs, IV corticosteroids and prednisone. The difference in 48-h relapse rates for T and N visits was examined by McNemar's test. No differences were found between T and N visits with respect to vital signs, pretreatment FEV1, arterial blood gas values, hematocrit level or blood leukocyte count. The 48-h relapse rate for T visits (22.2 percent) was significantly higher than for N visits (6.7 percent; p = 0.035). Aminophylline does not appear to be beneficial for outpatients with decompensated COPD and may be harmful.

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