Annals of Thoracic Medicine Official publication of the Saudi Thoracic Society, affiliated to King Saud University
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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 155-160

Fatal and near-fatal thunderstorm asthma epidemic in a desert country

1 Department of Medicine, Kuwait University, Kuwait City, Kuwait
2 Ministry of Interior, General Department of Criminal Evidence, Department of Forensic Medicine, Farwaniyah, Kuwait

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fatima Ali
Department of Medicine, Kuwait University, PO Box 24923, Safat 13110, Kuwait City
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/atm.ATM_258_18

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BACKGROUND: Reports of thunderstorm asthma in the Middle East are few. This study is the first to report on cases of near-fatal and fatal thunderstorm asthma in Kuwait on December 1, 2016. METHODS: We conducted a chart review and interview with adult patients admitted to Mubarak Al-Kabir Hospital with near-fatal asthma, defined as an exacerbation requiring intubation and mechanical ventilation or hypercapnia with a PaCO2≥6 kPa. Information, including patient age, gender, occupation, asthma history, medication usage, and clinical outcome, was collected. For fatal asthma cases, patients' data were collected from the Forensic Department at the Kuwait Ministry of Interior. RESULTS: A total of 17 patients were admitted with near-fatal asthma. Fifteen patients (93.8%) had a prior history of asthma, with an average duration of 9 years. Five patients (33.3%) reported receiving a corticosteroid inhaler from their physician. Fifteen patients (93.8%) reported relying on a short-acting β2-agonist alone to manage their asthma. Eleven patients (68.8%) reported being outdoors during the storm. Eleven patients were diagnosed with fatal asthma. CONCLUSION: The study is the first to report on a thunderstorm-associated asthma epidemic in Kuwait and emphasizes the potential dangers associated with this entity.

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