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April 3, 1978

Prevention of Status Asthmaticus

JAMA. 1978;239(14):1393. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280410035006

To the Editor.—  Many lessons can be learned from the instructive article by Scoggin et al on status asthmaticus (238:1158, 1977), not the least of which is the value of prevention compared with the risks of intervention.1 In terms of human suffering and of the serious risks involved, as well as of the medical services required and their cost, intensive ventilatory therapy appears as only an unwelcome alternative when everything else fails.A comparison of the data in this retrospective survey with those from 1,000 consecutive patients seen in private consultation practice2 may demonstrate the feasibility and the merits of preventive therapy for asthma. There was not one single case of status asthmaticus (ie, progressive airways obstruction not responding to adrenergic drugs and methylxanthines) requiring assisted ventilation among these 1,000 patients, most of whom had complex allergic respiratory problems, and several of whom were former in-patients in the