Randomized trial of a comprehensive asthma education program after an emergency department visit

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2006 Jul;97(1):44-51. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)61368-3.


Background: Patients with asthma who visit the emergency department (ED) may benefit from education that optimizes self-management and treatment.

Objective: To conduct a randomized trial of asthma education (AE) after an ED visit.

Methods: Patients who present with acute asthma and history consistent with moderate to severe persistent asthma or recent ED visits were stratified by age (adult, child) and randomly assigned to intervention or usual care during the ED visit. The intervention was conducted by trained asthma educators and included a facilitated office visit with the primary care physician followed by a home visit. Intention-to-treat analysis was conducted, with time to first asthma relapse (either ED or unscheduled urgent office visit) during the 6-month follow-up period used as the primary outcome.

Results: Of the 239 patients analyzed, 46% were adults, 46% were male, 30% were African American, and 56% had moderate to severe persistent asthma. Follow-up information was obtained on 191 patients (80%) at 6 months; 23.1% of the intervention group vs 31.1% of the usual care group had an urgent asthma visit (hazard ratio [HR], 0.79; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.48-1.29). Overall, 39% of the 117 patients assigned to the intervention group did not comply with any of the post-ED activities. Subgroup analysis suggested greater benefit among children (HR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.33-1.19) than adults (HR, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.50-2.33).

Conclusions: Delivery of a comprehensive AE program after an ED visit was ineffective in adult patients; however, it may be effective in children. Further research on alternative AE delivery strategies appears warranted to reduce the burden of asthma visits to the ED.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / etiology
  • Asthma / nursing
  • Asthma / prevention & control*
  • Asthma / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Emergencies
  • Emergency Service, Hospital* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • House Calls
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Michigan / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Office Visits
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Telephone


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents