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Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1999 Sep;83(3):208-11.

Comparison of emergency room asthma care to National Guidelines.

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Division of Allergy, Immunology and Rheumatology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark 07103-2499, USA.



National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) guidelines were first released in 1991. To date there have been no studies published comparing them with actual care given.


The aim of this study was to compare the documented care given in the emergency room (ER) of an urban tertiary care hospital with 1991 NAEPP guidelines.


A total of 1858 urban emergency room records with a diagnosis of asthma or reactive airway disease were recovered in 1 year (9/95 to 8/96) from pediatric and adult patients seen in the ER. Ten percent (n = 181) of the charts were reviewed for documentation of history, assessment of severity of attack, treatment given, and disposition.


History of present attack was documented consistently in all age groups. Nocturnal symptoms were noted in 11%, and frequency of beta agonist use in 38% of the charts. Previous ER visits, hospitalization, ICU admissions, and intubations (HCUM) were documented in 70%. Accessory muscle use was recorded in 76% of the infants and 21% of the adults. Peak flows were obtained in 31% of children and 64% of adults. Steroids were given in the ER in 59% of infants, 83% of children, and 49% of adults. Pediatric patients were referred to their primary care provider 90%, and to pulmonary or allergy clinic 4% of the time. Adults were referred to allergists or pulmonologists 32% of the time.


There are significant differences in ER evaluation and treatment when compared with the 1991 NAEPP guidelines. Differences also exist between various age groups within the same institution.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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