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Childhood asthma--office management.

  • Shah, M D
Published Article
Indian journal of pediatrics
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1996
PMID: 10829963


Childhood asthma is a major problem in office practice. For an acute life threatening attack (which is indicated by presence of severe distress, pulsus paradoxus, oxygen saturation less than 93%, cyanosis, peak expiratory flow rate of less than 50% of predicted) child should be directly admitted in intensive care unit. If it is a non life threatening attack the child can be managed in the office. Initially, the child should be given b2 agonists by inhalation route with either metered dose inhaler (MDI), MDI with spacer or nebuliser. It there is severe bronchospasm or inhalation therapy is not possible then epinephrine of b2 agonists may be given subcutaneously. The medications can be repeated 2-3 times. If response is adequate the child may be sent home on b2 agonist by oral or inhalation route at an interval of 406 hours. In case of inadequate response the child is started on oral or parenteral corticosteroids. Even after steroids if inadequate response the child is started on intravenous theophylline. Once the acute exacerbation is controlled the child is assessed for starting maintenance therapy. For this purpose his illness is graded from stage I to V depending on the severity. For stage I and II b2 agonists are prescribed as and when required. For stage III sodium cromoglycate by inhalation should be prescribed. For stage IV inhalation steroids in usual doses and for stage V inhalation steroids in higher doses are prescribed along with a minimum dose of oral steroids is added. For symptomatic control slow release theophylline or long acting b2 agonists may be added along with maintenance therapy as and when required. Apart from medications a proper education of parents and patients is necessary to improve the outcome of asthma by increasing the compliance and better control of environment.

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