PURPOSE: One of the primary reasons for insufficient control of bronchial asthma is lack of awarenss on the pattern and treatment strategy. There are myths observed in different groups of community. Doctors and paramedical personnel have an important role in correcting such myths. Information on the subject obtained in a selected group - fofth semester medical students in a medical college in south India formed the basis of this presentation.
METHODS: Medical students presently undergoing clinical training ( one year after basic preclinical phase) were selected for the study. A questionaire on the pattern and broad treatment strategy of the disease was handed over and student independenly asked to mark the answers. The data was computed .
RESULTS: There were 56 medical students. The observations are in approximate percentage in brackets. a) Bronchial asthma runs only in families (37.5) b) Steroid inhalers are the LAST choice in the treatment strategy (35.7) c) Inhalers cause addiction and can not be stopped (25) d) Inhalers cannot be used in pregnancy (32) e) Inhalers are dangerous in children (19.6) f) Tablets and injections are more effective (12) g) The choice of treatment in acute severe asthma: Inhalers (23), Nebulizers (64), Rotahaler (13) h) Diagnosis is made: Clinically (10); Spirometry (60); Radiology (9); arterial blood gas (7); History (14) i) Commonest cause is: Allergens (76); smoking (19); drugs (3.3); contact (1.7) j) The first line approach to severe asthma: oxygen (54) Inhalers (39); antibiotics (5.3); radiology (1.7).
CONCLUSION: There is insufficient knowledge on the pattern of bronchial asthma even among medical students, despite our state being highly literate. There is still scope for raising the awareness on steroid inhaler therapy and other lines of treatment. Patient / Physician medical education hence is still desired to curb this controllable disorder.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Physician must find time in educating asthmatics and families in reducing hospitalisation and morbidity.The role of steroid inhalers as preventer will be stressed.
DISCLOSURE: Gopinathan Pisharath, None.