Research Article

Edinburgh Emergency Asthma Admission Service: report on 10 years' experience.

Br Med J 1979; 2 doi: (Published 10 November 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;2:1199
  1. G K Crompton,
  2. I W Grant,
  3. P Bloomfield


    In December 1968 an emergency service was begun in Edinburgh to expedite admission to hospital of patients with severe acute asthma. During the first 10 years requests were made to admit 112 patients to a respiratory unit with provision for intensive care on 360 occasions. Four of the patients died of their disease, one in hospital and three before admission. It was thought that the death rate would have been much higher had conventional admission procedures been observed. Owing to ethical objections to a controlled trial it was not possible to obtain substantive proof that the service reduced deaths from asthma. Nevertheless, there was strong circumstantial evidence that organised facilities for the immediate admission to hospital of patients with a history of life-threatening attacks would result in fewer deaths at home. Earlier admission also apparently reduced hospital mortality and the number of patients requiring tracheal intubation and mechanical ventilation. It is concluded that there is a prima facie case for an emergency asthma admission serivce similar to that operating in Edinburgh to be established in all cities and large towns.