Study objectives: This study was designed to evaluate the effects of age on bronchodilator response to salbutamol in patients with acute severe asthma in the emergency department.
Subjects and methods: Sixty-four sequential patients (mean age, 34.2±10.7 years) with acute asthma were enrolled in the trial. Using age as a major criterion, we divided the sample in two groups: the young one (age ≤35 years, n=30) and the older (>35 years, n=34). All patients were treated with salbutamol delivered with metered-dose inhaler into a spacer device, in a dose of four puffs every 10 min (100 µg per actuation) during 3 h.
Results: Mean FEV1 improved significantly over baseline values for both groups (p=0.001). At final disposition, the mean percent of predicted FEV1 was 55.1±16.3% in the young group and 58.0±20.9% in the older group. There were no significant differences between both groups for FEV1 percent response at any point studied. A significant increase in heart rate over baseline was seen in the older group (p=0.001). Older patients also presented a higher incidence in nausea and tremor. Young and older patients with acute asthma achieved equivalent bronchodilation response to salbutamol.
Conclusions: We concluded that age is not a predictor of response to β-agonists.