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Chest. 2015 Jan;147(1):140-149. doi: 10.1378/chest.14-0843.

Rates and correlates of relapse following ED discharge for acute asthma: a Canadian 20-site prospective cohort study.

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Department of Emergency Medicine; School of Public Health. Electronic address:
Department of Emergency Medicine; School of Public Health.
Department of Medicine.
University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB; the Department of Emergency Medicine.
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC; and the Department of Medicine.
Department of Emergency Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON.
School of Public Health.



Acute asthma is a common ED presentation. In a prospective, multicenter cohort study, we determined the frequency and factors associated with asthma relapse following discharge from the ED.


Adults aged 18 to 55 years who were treated for acute asthma and discharged from 20 Canadian EDs underwent a structured ED interview and a follow-up telephone interview 4 weeks later. Standardized antiinflammatory treatment was offered at discharge. Multivariable analyses were performed.


Of 807 enrolled patients, 58% were women, and the median age was 30 years. Relapse occurred in 144 patients (18%) within 4 weeks of ED discharge. Factors independently associated with relapse occurrence were female sex (women, 22% vs men, 12%; adjusted OR [aOR], 1.9; 95% CI, 1.2-3.0); symptom duration of ≥ 24 h prior to ED visit (long duration, 19% vs short duration, 13%; aOR, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.3-2.3); ever using oral corticosteroids (ever use, 21% vs never use, 12%; aOR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.1- 2.0); current use of an inhaled corticosteroid ([ICS]/long-acting β-agonist combination product (combination product, 25% vs ICS monotherapy,15%; aOR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.1-3.2); and owning a spacer device (owning one, 24% vs not owning one, 15%; aOR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.3-1.9).


Despite receiving guideline-concordant antiinflammatory treatments at ED discharge, almost one in five patients relapsed within 4 weeks. Female sex, prolonged symptoms, treatment-related factors, and markers of prior asthma severity were significantly associated with relapse. These results may help physicians target more aggressive interventions for patients at high risk of relapse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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