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Advances in acute asthma

Rodrigo, Gustavo J.

Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine: January 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue 1 - p 22–26
doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000123
ASTHMA: Edited by Nicola A. Hanania and Zuzana Diamant

Purpose of review The purpose of this study is to highlight some of the recent findings related with the management of acute exacerbations in the context of the emergency department setting.

Recent findings β2-agonist heliox-driven nebulization significantly increased by 17% [95% confidence interval (CI) 5.2–29.4] peak expiratory flow, and decreased the rate of hospital admissions (risk ratio 0.77, 95% CI 0.62–0.98), compared with oxygen-driven nebulization. Other findings indicate that there is no robust evidence to support the use of intravenous or nebulized magnesium sulphate in adults with severe acute asthma, and that levalbuterol was not superior to albuterol regarding efficacy and safety in individuals with acute asthma. Finally, hyperlactatemia developed during the first hours of acute asthma treatment has a high prevalence, is related with the use of β2-agonists and had no clinical consequences.

Summary After a comprehensive review of the best quality pieces of literature published in the last year, it is possible to conclude that the goals of acute asthma management remain almost unchanged.

Departamento de Emergencia, Hospital Central de las Fuerzas Armadas, Montevideo, Uruguay

Correspondence to Dr Gustavo J. Rodrigo, MD, Departamento de Emergencia, Hospital Central de las Fuerzas Armadas, Av. 8 de Octubre 3020, Montevideo 11600, Uruguay. Tel: +598 9383 4050; e-mail:

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