Background: Recent studies show that objective measures such as peak flow rates are strongly associated with asthma admission among adults.
Objective: To identify factors associated with admission among children.
Methods: We performed a prospective cohort study as part of the Multicenter Airway Research Collaboration. Patients aged 2 to 17 years who presented to the emergency department (ED) with acute asthma underwent a structured interview in the ED and another by telephone 2 weeks later. The study was performed at 44 EDs in 18 US states and 4 Canadian provinces. The decision to admit was made at the discretion of the treating physician. Univariate analysis of risk factors for admission was followed by multivariate logistic regression.
Results: Of the 1178 eligible subjects, 275 (23%; 95% confidence interval, 21%-26%) were admitted or placed into ED observation units. A multivariate model that included 12 characteristics measured at presentation and during the ED stay was associated with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.91. Demographic factors were not independently associated with admission. Severity of symptoms (odds ratio, 1.3) and intensity of therapy both before and during ED visit correlated with the likelihood of admission. Previous admission for asthma (P =.02) and recent use of inhaled corticosteroids (P =.04) also were associated with admission. Peak flows were associated with admission but were infrequently (23% overall) measured.
Conclusion: Hospitalization for asthma exacerbation in children is primarily associated with clinical indicators in the ED and with historical factors such as previous asthma admission or intubation, recent use of corticosteroids, and comorbidity.