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Respir Med. 2000 Dec;94(12):1234-40.

Early discharge of patients hospitalized with acute asthma: a controlled study.

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Department of Medicine, National University Hospital, Singapore.


There is no consensus on the optimal length of stay and timing of release from hospital in patients admitted with acute asthma. We hypothesize that it might be safe to discharge patients from hospital once they have responded clinically to intensive anti-asthma treatment. In a non-randomized prospective controlled study, we compared two discharge protocols in consecutive patients admitted for acute severe exacerbations of bronchial asthma. Patients in group A were discharged after remission of signs and symptoms and those in group B after improvement but before complete remission of signs and symptoms. Peak expiratory flow rates (PEFR) were monitored but were not used as discharge criteria for either group. Patients with complicating disease and who were likely to be non-compliant were excluded. The length of hospital stay (LOS) and best PEFR at discharge were significantly lower in group B (87 admissions) than group A (80 admissions). The mean (+/-SD) LOS was 1.8(+/- 1) days vs. 3.5(+/- 1.4) days and best PEFR was 58(+/- 17)% predicted versus 71(+/- 15)% predicted respectively (P < 0.001 for both variables). No patient in either group relapsed within 4 weeks of discharge from hospital. We concluded that the release of asthmatics who respond promptly to intensive treatment and are compliant with medication despite incomplete resolution of symptoms, signs and PEFR at the time of discharge from hospital may not be associated with increased risk of early relapse.

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