COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

[Metered-dose inhaler with spacer vs nebulization for severe and potentially severe acute asthma treatment in the pediatric emergency department]

N Sannier, S Timsit, B Cojocaru, A Leis, C Wille, D Garel, N Bocquet, G Chéron
Archives de Pédiatrie: Organe Officiel de la Sociéte Française de Pédiatrie 2006, 13 (3): 238-44
16423517

OBJECTIVE: To compare treatment with beta 2 agonist delivered either by a spacer device or a nebulizer in children with severe or potentially severe acute asthma.

METHODS: In this randomized trial, children 4 to 15 years, cared for in the emergency department for severe or potentially severe acute asthma, received 6 times either nebulizations of salbutamol (0.15mg/kg) or puffs of a beta 2 agonist (salbutamol 50 microg/kg or terbutaline 125 microg/kg). The primary outcome was the hospitalization rate. Secondary outcomes included percentage improvement in Bishop score, in PEF, SaO(2), respiratory and heart rates, side effects, length of stay and relapses 10 and 30 days later.

RESULTS: Groups did not differ for baseline data. There were no significant differences between the 2 groups (nebulizer N=40, spacer N=39) for baseline characteristics before emergency department consultation except for length of acute asthma in the spacer group. Clinical evolution after treatment, hospitalization rate, relapse were similar including the more severe subgroup. In the spacer group, tachycardia was less frequent (P<0.02). The overall length of stay in the emergency department was significantly shorter (148+/-20 vs 108+/-13 min, P<10(-9)).

CONCLUSIONS: The administration of beta 2 agonist using a metered-dose inhaler with spacer is an effective alternative to nebulizers for the treatment of children with severe or potentially severe acute asthma in the emergency department. Time gained can be used for asthma education.

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