Don't Delay Emergency Care When Asthma Flare-Ups
MONDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Asthma patients who delay
seeking emergency medical care when the condition flares can suffer
worse outcomes, including hospitalization.
That's the finding of a study that included 296 asthma patients
in two New York City emergency departments. They were asked about
the duration of their asthma symptoms and their attempts at
self-management before they decided to go to the emergency
Two-thirds of the patients waited five days or less before they
sought medical treatment and one-third waited longer than five
Patients who waited longer were more likely to be sicker when
they arrived at the emergency department, more likely to arrive by
ambulance, and more likely to be admitted to the hospital.
The study also found that patients who waited longer and those
who sought treatment earlier were about equally likely to have
health insurance (80 percent), to consult a physician before coming
to the emergency department (23 percent and 18 percent,
respectively), and to have used drugs called beta-agonists
(albuterol, for example), which are typically prescribed to treat
The study is slated to be presented Monday at the American
Thoracic Society (ATS) international conference in Denver.
"An important aspect of managing asthma is for patients to realize when they can handle exacerbations with help from their regular doctors, and when they need the more intense treatment the emergency room provides," study author Dr. Carol Mancuso, an associate professor of medicine at the Hospital for Special Surgery, Weill Cornell Medical College, in New York City, said in an ATS news release.
"It is preferable to get help early from regular doctors and avoid the emergency room. However, when intense treatment is necessary, then the sooner the patients present to the emergency room the better, because then they are not as sick and are less likely to be hospitalized," she added.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more
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