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Prehosp Emerg Care. 2006 Oct-Dec;10(4):418-29.

A model protocol for emergency medical services management of asthma exacerbations.


Emergency medical services (EMS) is an important part of the continuum of asthma management. The magnitude of the EMS responsibility is very large, with millions of patients with asthma treated each year by EMS personnel. In response to inconsistencies between the 1997 National Asthma Education and Prevention Program asthma guidelines and a variety of existing EMS protocols on the management of asthma exacerbations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened a workgroup in 2004 to discuss the various opportunities and challenges ahead. At the meeting, and over the ensuing year, the workgroup created a model protocol that was derived from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program guidelines. The model protocol is available in both text and algorithm format and offers guidance for EMS systems to develop and implement treatment protocols in their local areas. The workgroup recommendations emphasize flexibility, simplicity, and low-risk practices. By integrating these recommendations into existing protocols, we believe that EMS systems could improve prehospital care for patients with asthma. Demonstration projects are needed to carefully examine the implementation process and the actual impact of the model protocol on various outcomes. The workgroup also encourages more research on EMS management of asthma exacerbations. In the meantime, improved collaboration between EMS and national asthma organizations is an immediate priority and will continue to advance future discussions on how to improve asthma management in the prehospital setting. The workgroup hopes that state and local EMS systems will see the value of the model protocol and encourage its use.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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