• Asthma: an overview of prehospital care

      Scholes, Steven (2008-12)
      Asthma exacerbations are characterized by progressive increase in shortness of breath, decrease in expiratory airflow, productive or non-productive cough, wheezing and feeling of chest tightness. Emergency hospital admissions for asthma are costly and it is estimated 75% are avoidable through effective asthma management and routine care. This article addresses asthma management in prehospital care explaining relevant underlying pathophysiology of asthma exacerbations to provide clinicians with a greater understanding of asthma and its pharmacological and ventilatory management. Abstract published with permission.
    • Heliox in acute severe asthma in the A&E setting: a review

      Scholes, Steven (2013-09-29)
      Heliox (HeO2) is a mixture of helium and oxygen, often mixed in 80:20 or 70:30 ratios for use in medicine and clinical investigations. Heliox has been available for use in the UK since 2002 and is supplied as Heliox 21 (21% oxygen and 79% helium) by BOC Gases for medical use in asthma, croup, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other medical procedures. Heliox use in asthma exacerbations remains largely experimental owing to the limited number of randomized controlled trials. This review aims to critically analyse the efficiency of Heliox use in acute asthma exacerbations in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) setting, evaluate its effectiveness as a medium for nebulization, and assess potential benefits to clinical practice. Prehospital application will also be discussed in moderate-severe asthma exacerbations. It is envisaged that the factors relating to Heliox use in asthma are focused to provide an additional therapy to the current choice of therapies for prehospital clinicians. Abstract published with permission.
    • Why take a peak flow in asthma – a review

      van Wamel, Annelies; Procter, Shaun (2010-02)
      Current asthma protocols advocate the measurement of peak flow expiratory rate (PEFR) by staff in pre-hospital care in their assessment and management of acute asthma. Yet in practice many, if not most, omit to do this. The limited amount of recent research available – which has been conducted by doctors and accident and emergency staff and concerns patients admitted to accident and emergency departments – shows that PEFR is one of the best, if not the best, predictive assessment tool available to ambulance staff. Pulse oximetry and PEFR do not measure the same things and cannot replace each other. Not taking a pre- and post-treatment PEFR is potentially detrimental to patient care and does not comply with Joint Royal Colleges Service Liaison Committee and British Thoracic Society standards. Paramedic-led research on assessment and management of acute asthma in pre-hospital settings is lacking. Abstract published with permission.