Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Comparison of salbutamol given intravenously and by intermittent positive-pressure breathing in life-threatening asthma.

Br Med J 1979; 1 doi: (Published 31 March 1979) Cite this as: Br Med J 1979;1:848
  1. P Bloomfield,
  2. J Carmichael,
  3. G R Petrie,
  4. N P Jewell,
  5. G K Crompton


    A double-blind crossover trial was carried out during 22 episodes of life-threatening asthma in 19 patients to compare salbutamol given as a 500 microgram intravenous injection and as a 0 . 5% solution administered by intermittent positive-pressure breathing (IPPB) for three minutes. Relief of pulsus paradoxus was significantly better after IPPB than the intravenous treatment. Both treatments significantly improved the peak expiratory flow rate. Salbutamol given intravenously produced a mean increase in heart rate of over 20 beats/min five minutes after treatment compared with the relief of tachycardia that occurred after administration by IPPB. Four patients had noticeable cardiovascular side effects after salbutamol given intravenously, but no such effects were noticed after administration by IPPB. Two patients withdrawn shortly after entry into the trial because of a worsening clinical condition had received intravenous salbutamol. It is concluded that salbutamol given by IPPB is better than that given by slow intravenous injection in severe acute asthma.