Facilitated referral to asthma specialist reduces relapses in asthma emergency room visits

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1991 Jun;87(6):1160-8. doi: 10.1016/0091-6749(91)92162-t.


Facilitated asthma-specialist care delivered by allergists was compared to generalist care on the rate of relapse of asthma emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations and on asthma control in a prospective, controlled study of San Diego Kaiser Health Plan members with asthma. Subjects with asthma between the ages of 6 and 59 years presenting for acute ER care for asthma were systematically assigned by alternating, consecutively, the day of their ER visit to receive either (1) facilitated referral to an asthma specialist within the allergy department and concomitant comprehensive ongoing asthma care (intervention group, n = 149) or (2) continued outpatient management from generalist physicians (control group, n = 160). The course of their asthma was evaluated blindly during the subsequent 6 months by review of medical records, initial and follow-up questionnaires, and spirometry. Compared to the control group, the intervention group noted (1) a 75% reduction in the number of, and percent of, subjects with asthma awakenings per night (p less than or equal to 0.0001), (2) an almost 50% reduction in asthma ER relapses (p = 0.017) resulting from a reduction in the frequency of multiple relapse (p = 0.005), and (3) a greater use of inhaled corticosteroids (p less than 0.00001) and cromolyn (p = 0.002). Thus, facilitated referral of subjects with asthma to specialists in asthma therapy after acute ER therapy appears to reduce asthma ER relapses and to improve asthma outcome.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Emergencies*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care
  • Recurrence
  • Referral and Consultation*