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J Med Invest. 2013;60(1-2):61-5.

Asthma exacerbations after the East Japan Disaster.

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  • 1The Department of Internal Medicine, Toyama City Hospital, Toyama, Japan.


On March 11, 2011, a 9.0-magnitude earthquake struck east Japan, following tsunami. Many people are forced to live in evacuation shelters without enough life-saving drugs. Asthma control for management of health crisis is required, because asthma exacerbation is a major cause of morbidity, can need acute care and results in death. However, it remains obscure what parameter should be used in primary clinic of evacuation shelters. The objective of this study is to elucidate the practical efficacy of asthma assessment tool in primary clinic for victims of this disaster. Asthma control test (ACT), a brief and patient-based tool to evaluate asthma control, was conducted for 17 patients with asthma in evacuation shelters at Tohoku district. Total sum of ACT scores were significantly decreased after this disaster. Significant decreases were observed for the items; "Asthma keeps you from getting much done at work", "Shortness of breath", "Asthma symptoms wake you up" and "Patient rating of control". ACT, an easy and practicable tool, clearly demonstrated the asthma exacerbation in evacuation shelters without the use of lung function testing. ACT may contribute to the management of health crisis not only for this East Japan disaster but also for the other forthcoming unavoidable disasters.

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