Randomized Controlled Trial of a Breath-Actuated Nebulizer in Pediatric Asthma Patients in the Emergency Department

Authors: Sabato, Katie; Ward, Priscilla; Hawk, William; Gildengorin, Virginia; Asselin, Jeanette M

Source: Respiratory Care, Volume 56, Number 6, June 2011 , pp. 761-770(10)

Publisher: The Journal Respiratory Care Company

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BACKGROUND: Bronchodilator treatment for asthma can be provided with various aerosol-generating devices and methods. There have been no randomized trials of a breath-actuated nebulizer versus continuous 1-hour nebulization and/or small-volume constant-output nebulizer in pediatric asthma patients. METHODS: We conducted a randomized study of one-time albuterol treatment with the AeroEclipse breath-actuated nebulizer versus standard therapy (single treatment via small-volume nebulizer or 1-hour of continuous nebulized albuterol) in pediatric asthma patients in the emergency department. Eligible patients were those admitted to the emergency department, 0 months to 18 years of age, who presented with asthma or wheezing. We assessed all the patients with our clinical asthma scoring system and peak-flow measurement if possible. We stratified the patients by clinical asthma score and weight, and then randomized them to receive their initial albuterol treatment in the emergency department via either AeroEclipse or standard therapy. We recorded time in the emergency department, change in clinical asthma score, need for additional bronchodilator treatments, need for admission, patient response, ability to actuate the AeroEclipse, and adverse effects. RESULTS: We enrolled 149 patients between October 14, 2004 and November 11, 2005, and we randomized 84 patients to AeroEclipse and 65 to standard therapy. The cohort's average age was 5.5 years. There were no significant differences in demographics. The initial mean clinical asthma scores were 5.1 ± 2.4 in the AeroEclipse group, and 5.1 ± 2.1 in the standard-therapy group. Time in the emergency department was not different (AeroEclipse 102 min, standard therapy 125 min, P = .10), but the AeroEclipse group had a significantly greater improvement in clinical asthma score (1.9 ± 1.2 vs 1.2 ± 1.4, P = .001) and respiratory rate (P = .002), and significantly lower admission rate (38% vs 57%, P = .03). There was no difference in adverse effects. CONCLUSIONS: Although AeroEclipse did not reduce the time in the ED, it significantly improved clinical asthma score, decreased admissions, and decreased respiratory rate.

Keywords: aerosol; albuterol; asthma; breath-actuated; bronchodilator; clinical asthma score; department; emergency; nebulizer; pediatric

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4187/respcare.00142

Affiliations: Department of Respiratory Care, Research, Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, Oakland, California, USA

Publication date: June 1, 2011

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