OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy of brief, single administration of positive expiratory pressure (PEP) therapy in reducing clinical severity and need for additional second-line therapies and hospitalization in children presenting to the emergency department (ED) with acute asthma.
STUDY DESIGN: This was a prospective randomized controlled trial of children 2-18 years of age presenting to a tertiary-care academic pediatric ED with moderate-to-severe asthma exacerbations from December 2014 to June 2016. Children who continued to have moderate asthma severity after completion of initial therapies (albuterol/ipratropium bromide and corticosteroids) were randomized to receive PEP therapy or standard of care. The primary outcome was change in pulmonary asthma score before and after intervention, as assessed by a blinded physician. Secondary outcomes included need for additional therapies, ED length of stay, and disposition.
RESULTS: A total of 52 patients were randomized to receive either PEP (n?=?26) or standard therapy (n?=?26). Study groups were similar in demographics and baseline characteristics. There was no significant difference in primary outcome between groups with a mean change in Pulmonary Asthma Score of 0.92 (±1.2) in the PEP group and 0.40 (±1.2) in the standard group (P?=?.12). There also was no significant difference in need for additional therapies, ED length of stay, and disposition. Mild, self-resolving side effects were observed in 3 subjects receiving PEP therapy.
CONCLUSION: Single, brief, administration of PEP therapy after completion of first-line therapies does not improve clinical severity in children presenting to the ED with acute asthma.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02494076.
There is nothing surprising from this study and I am not sure that I would have undertaken such an intervention. Numbers are small and the drop out rate is high for follow up.
This is a good approach to test in a specific population. It sets precedence to future studies.