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Canadian researchers analyzed data from 406 children and found that those with moderate or severe asthma attacks who received systemic corticosteroids within 75 minutes of arriving at a hospital emergency department were 16 percent less likely to be admitted to the hospital.
Corticosteroids reduce inflammation.
The findings illustrate the importance of rapidly identifying and treating children with asthma when they arrive at an emergency department, the researchers said.
The study was recently published online in the journal Annals of Emergency Medicine.
"We knew that corticosteroids could help avoid hospital admissions and relapses. However, just how delays between emergency department admission and administration of the treatment impacted outcomes remained unclear," lead author Dr. Sanjit Bhogal said in a University of Montreal news release.
"Our study demonstrates that, to be effective in preventing hospital admission, treatment with corticosteroids should be administered within 75 minutes of triage, regardless of patient age," senior author Dr. Francine Ducharme said in the news release.
"In fact, the earlier the treatment is given within this time frame, the more effective it is, hence the advantage of starting treatment right after triage," she added. "Furthermore, beginning early treatment reduces emergency department stay by almost 45 minutes for patients who will be discharged from the emergency department."
-- Robert Preidt
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SOURCE: University of Montreal, news release, April 4, 2012