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Chest. 1991 Jul;100(1):14-6.

Acute asthma. Admission chest radiography in hospitalized adult patients.

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Department of Radiology, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York.


The utility of admission chest radiography has been controversial in the management of adult patients admitted to the hospital with acute asthma. We reviewed the impact of admission chest radiography on in-hospital management of 54 adult patients with acute asthma. Each patient was admitted after a failed 12-h course of bronchodilator therapy in the emergency ward. Major radiographic abnormalities were found in 20 (34 percent) of 58 occasions. These abnormalities included focal parenchymal opacities, IIM, enlarged cardiac silhouette, pulmonary vascular congestion, new solitary pulmonary nodule and pneumothorax. Subsequent antibiotic use correlated with radiographic focal opacities or IIM, even in afebrile patients, but did not correlate with elevated blood leukocyte count. Based on the evidence of in-hospital alteration of management independent of elevated blood leukocyte count and body temperature, we recommend that chest radiographs be obtained for all adult patients admitted because of acute asthma.

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