Management of acute childhood asthma: a prospective multicentre study

Eur Respir J. 2000 Jun;15(6):1102-5. doi: 10.1034/j.1399-3003.2000.01519.x.


Children with acute asthma account for a significant proportion of paediatric hospital admissions, and clear guidelines exist for their care. The aim of this study was to determine their management in the UK. Over 1 year (February 1995 to January 1996), children aged 1-14 yrs admitted with acute asthma were studied in both teaching and district general hospitals. An admission pro forma was used to collect data prospectively, with a computer-based information management system for the input of admissions in each centre. Ten centres collected data prospectively, with 1,578 admissions involving 1,352 children (median age 3.6 yrs). Sixty two per cent of children were <5 yrs of age. Sixty three per cent of admissions had initial arterial oxygen saturation (Sa,O2) recorded, and, in those older than 5 yrs, 36% had their initial peak expiratory flow rate recorded. Systemic steroids were given to 78%. An initial Sa,O2 of <92% was associated with a longer stay in hospital, and also with intravenous treatment. Preventative treatment increased from 42% on admission to 53% on discharge. The rates of documented education were low. This is the largest UK study following publication of national guidelines and shows that there is still room for improvement in the management of children admitted with acute asthma.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Aminophylline / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Bronchodilator Agents / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hospitals, General / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, Teaching / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Medical Audit*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Patient Discharge
  • Patient Education as Topic / statistics & numerical data
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Prospective Studies
  • United Kingdom


  • Bronchodilator Agents
  • Aminophylline
  • Albuterol
  • Oxygen