Journal Review

Smith SR, Baty JD, Hodge D. Validation of the pulmonary score: An asthma severity score for children. Acad Emerg Med 2002; 9:99-104.

The pulmonary score is an acceptable way to measure asthma severity in ED pediatric patients, says this study from the Washington University School of Medicine and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, both in St. Louis.

The study looked at 46 children who came to the ED with an acute asthma exacerbation. Peak expiratory flow rates and pulmonary scores (which rates respiratory rate, wheezing, and accessory muscle use on a 0-3 scale) were measured before and after the first albuterol treatment. The study found that pre- and post-treatment pulmonary scores correlated with peak expiratory flow rates.

For children who are too young or too sick to obtain peak expiratory flow rate, the pulmonary score is a reasonable substitute to assess airway obstruction, the researchers conclude. "The [pulmonary score] appears to be an objective and simple scoring system for the assessment of airway obstruction for children," they wrote.