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J Emerg Med. 2007 Jan;32(1):27-39.

Treatment strategies for reducing asthma-related emergency department visits.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center, Richmond 23298-0401, USA.


Acute asthma exacerbations reflect inadequate long-term disease control. Treatment to control acute asthma exacerbations includes: 1) rapid reversal of airflow obstruction with bronchodilators and systemic corticosteroids and reversing hypoxemia with oxygen in the emergency department (ED); 2) preventing early relapse by prescribing beta(2) agonists and oral corticosteroids at discharge and ensuring patients have an adequate supply of their other asthma medications; and 3) preventing future asthma exacerbations and ED visits through effective treatment in primary care. This article discusses each treatment and reviews the role of emergency physicians in treating patients to reverse airflow obstruction and prevent early relapse, future exacerbations, and ED visits by communicating the need for additional asthma control to patients' primary care physicians.

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