oa Central African Journal of Medicine - Asthma admissions to intensive care: a five year study

Volume 33, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



During the five-year study 1982-86, 50 patients with severe asthma were admitted to two Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Of these 45 required assisted ventilation. Thirteen patients (26%) died, four had a cardiorespiratory arrest prior to admission and never regained consciousness, five died in Intensive Care, one died from pulmonary embolism after leaving Intensive Care and in three the circumstances leading to death were not clear. Seven (54%) of the deaths were preventable. The severity of the asthmatic attack had not been clinically assessed adequately, aminiphylline use was excessive and tension pneumothorax in two patients was not treated promptly. A feature common to most patients was the lack of adequate prophylactic medication in the community prior to hospital admission.

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