Forty-six patients, known to suffer from asthma, attending an inner-city accident and emergency (A&E) department, were screened for the presence of chronic symptoms and their current treatment documented. The patients were asked if they knew their optimum peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) or if they possessed a peak flow meter. The treatment being used by each of the 26 patients with evidence of chronic persistent asthma was compared to that as advised by the British Thoracic Society (B.T.S.) and it was found that only three patients were receiving adequate treatment. Most often the treatment regimes were suboptimal due to the absence of an inhaled anti-inflammatory agent. Patient awareness of their own PEFR or possession of a peak flow meter was uniformly low in both the well-controlled patients and those with chronic persistent asthma.
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