Aims: To evaluate asthma care in the emergency department (ED), including use of pulmonary function testing (PFT) and how patients are treated when discharged.
Methods: Internet-based surveys were completed by 298 healthcare practitioners in seven countries on 1078 patients 15-70 years old with an acute asthma exacerbation.
Results: Less than 60% of patients received guideline-recommended therapy with a bronchodilator, corticosteroid, and supplemental oxygen. Patients undergoing PFT had significantly more courses of asthma therapy (2.3 vs 1.7; p < 0.001), and received more medications (5.7 vs 3.9; p < 0.001). At discharge, 17.9% of patients did not receive a prescription asthma medication and 12.8% did not receive a physician referral. Men (p<0.022), patients with more severe disease (p<0.0001), and those seen by a pulmonologist (p<0.0001), were more likely to be treated.
Conclusions: Management of patients with acute asthma exacerbations diverged from guideline recommendations. Enhanced adherence to guidelines could lead to improved outcomes.