American Thoracic Society Journal news tips for November 2003 (first issue)

Intervention cuts asthma patient costs and subsequent hospitalizations dramatically

An intervention study directed at hospitalized asthma patients who had a history of frequent health care use resulted in a significant reduction in subsequent hospitalizations, many fewer lost work or school days, and lower direct and indirect health care costs. Researchers investigated 96 adults hospitalized for an asthma exacerbation who had a history of frequent hospitalizations for the disease. Fifty of the patients were placed randomly in an asthma nurse specialist intervention program while 46, the control group, received usual care for 6 months. The patients were predominately young African American women. According to the authors, asthma affects 15 million Americans. Hospitalizations account for almost half of the disease's associated direct health care expenditures. African Americans are over three times more likely than white persons to be hospitalized for the disease. The research team demonstrated a 60 percent reduction in total hospitalizations (31 readmissions in the intervention group versus 71 in the control group). The intervention group lost 264 days of work or school, while the control group missed 1,040 days. In addition, intervention patients showed a substantial reduction in direct and indirect health care costs, saving $6,462 per patient. The study results appear in the first issue for November 2003 of the American Thoracic Society's peer-reviewed American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Decision analysis points up best treatment strategy for ventilator-associated pneumonia

In an effort to develop an optimal treatment strategy against deadly ventilator-associated pneumonia, researchers using decision analysis revealed that initial use of three antibiotics, followed by diagnostic testing, led to better patient survival, less antibiotic use, and lower cost. According to the authors, initial treat

Contact: Cathy Carlomagno
American Thoracic Society

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