Evaluation of Asthmatic Children Presenting at Emergency Rooms
Haim Bibi, Elena Shoychet, David Shoseyov, Michael Armoni, Emil Chai, Dorit Ater
Pediatric Pulmonary Clinic and Pediatric Dept., Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon; Pediatric Pulmonary Clinic, Bikur Cholim Hospital, Jerusalem; Emergency Room, Barzilai Medical Center, Ashkelon; and Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheba
Bronchial asthma in the pediatric age group has become prevalent recently. Many children who suffer from asthma arrive at the emergency room (ER) with exacerbations which did not respond to medical treatment at home.
Between July and December 1997, 136 children 8 months to 14 years of age (61% below 3 years), were studied in our pediatric ER. Investigation included physical examination and pulse oximetry, which were used as guidelines for scoring the children on arrival and post-treatment. Spirometry was done in those who could cooperate. For each patient a detailed questionnaire about medical and sociodemographic factors was filled.
Primary pediatricians used mainly beta-agonist and corticosteroid inhalators, while pediatric pulmonologists used mainly inhaled steroids. There was no relationship between severity of attack on arrival at the ER, mode of treatment and speed of recovery in the ER. More children treated by a general pediatrician more were admitted to hospital. Low parental education and paternal smoking were risk factors for recurrent hospital admissions.
Our results indicate that parents must be educated to stop smoking, especially those with asthmatic children, and primary pediatricians should be updated with regard to proper treatment and follow-up of asthma.