This audit of hospital care of acute wheeze and asthma aimed to assess the degree of adherence of the acute care of the asthma patients to the published international guidelines. Information was collected in six key areas: patient demographics; initial asthma severity assessment; in-hospital treatment; asthma prophylaxis; asthma education and emergency planning; and follow-up arrangements. The area of initial asthma severity assessment showed defciencies in the clinical measures currently used to verify case severity. In- hospital treatment on the other hand was consistent with recommendations in the use of the inhaled β-2 agonist salbutamol as bronchodilator, the discrete use of aminophylline and the small number of patients ordered chest X-ray. However, the treatment was incoherent with recommendations in the delivery method used for inhaled bronchodilator in relation to the age group of treated patients, absence of ipratropium bromide as a bronchodilator in the management and the large use of antibiotics. Assessment of the areas of asthma prophylaxis, asthma education and emergency- planning and follow-up arrangements illustrated that little efforts were made to assure safe discharge, although these measures have been shown to reduce morbidity after the exacerbation and reduce relapse rates and signifcantly reduce hospitalizations, unscheduled acute visits, missed work days, as well as improving quality of life. This audit emphasizes the need for the adoption of a management protocol for acute asthma care in the emergency department based on published international guidelines and the assurance of its implementation, monitoring and evaluation using the right tools to improve patient care.
Key words: Acute asthma; asthma guidelines; asthma severity; prophylaxis