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J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1987 Sep;80(3 Pt 2):458-62.

History of asthma deaths from antiquity.


Death from asthma has been known to occur since its original descriptions in ancient times. Even in the eighteenth century some risk factors for death, such as delayed or inadequate treatment, were recognized. Autopsies performed on some patients dying of asthma in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries did not show the characteristic gross pathologic findings, suggesting that some inappropriate therapy might have contributed to the demise of the patients. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, before 1920, death from asthma was considered to be rare by many leading authorities. However, asthma mortality rates in young people were stable for a century before the "epidemic" of asthma deaths in the latter 1960s. Since then, despite many advances made in our understanding of the underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms and in our ability to treat with newer drugs, deaths from asthma in young patients have not declined and in some areas of the world have indeed increased.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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