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Am J Emerg Med. 1994 Nov;12(6):613-6.

Racemic epinephrine in the treatment of laryngotracheitis: can we identify children for outpatient therapy?

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Emergency Medicine Residency Program, Butterworth Hospital, Grand Rapids, MI.


The purpose of this study was to identify a cohort of children with laryngotracheitis (croup) who may be safely discharged from the emergency department (ED) after treatment with nebulized racemic epinephrine (RE), corticosteroids, and prolonged observation. Consecutive children (younger than 13 years of age) presenting to the ED with the diagnosis of laryngotracheitis were evaluated prospectively according to a croup scoring system. Sixty-one patients (4 to 108 months of age) with persistent inspiratory stridor at rest after 20 minutes of mist therapy who received nebulized RE (0.05) mL/kg of a 2.25% solution) and intramuscular dexamethasone (0.6 mg/kg) were enrolled in the study. Patients were observed in the ED while croup scores were assessed at 15, 60, 120, and 180 minutes. Croup scores were significantly improved (analysis of variance, P < .01) throughout the observation period in 31 patients (51%) who were discharged from the ED. Only one patient returned within 48 hours for further cool mist therapy. The maximum benefit from RE therapy was seen at 60 minutes. If a child had persistent resting stridor or a croup score greater than 2 at that time, hospitalization was inevitable. The 30 patients admitted to the hospital were younger (19.1 v 27.8 months) and had higher pretreatment croup scores (5.7 v 4.1). This was the first prospective study to identify a subset of children who have received RE to be safely discharged home after observation in the ED.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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