Risk factors for recurrent asthma hospital visits and death among a population of indigent older adults with asthma

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002 Nov;89(5):467-73. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)62083-2.


Background: Little is known about the morbidity and mortality among older adults with asthma requiring hospital care.

Objectives: To determine whether an initial hospital visit for asthma was associated with an increase in use of inhaled corticosteroids (CCS) at discharge, and to identify risk factors for recurrent asthma hospital visits and death.

Methods: A retrospective cohort analysis identified 93,174 persons 65 years and older enrolled in the Tennessee Medicaid program for at least 1 year and free of asthma hospital visits during that year; 510 survived a single hospital visit for asthma in 1992 and comprised the study population. Main outcome measures included recurrent hospital visit for asthma and all-cause mortality during the year after an asthma hospital visit.

Results: Among the 510 study subjects, 10% were on inhaled CCS at admission compared with 11% at discharge. Twenty-three percent of the population had recurrent asthma hospital visits and 12% died during 1-year followup. Asthma severity was the strongest independent risk factor for both a recurrent hospital visit [relative risk for moderate to severe disease 1.92 (1.01 to 3.66), and for near-fatal disease 2.28 (1.01 to 5.13), respectively] and death [relative risk for moderate to severe disease 2.99 (1.07 to 8.32) and for near-fatal disease 4.44 (1.34 to 4.69), respectively].

Conclusions: In this population, older adults with an exacerbation of asthma requiring hospital care experienced significant morbidity and mortality. An acute hospital visit for an asthma exacerbation did not result in initiation of inhaled CCS therapy. Asthma severity predicted both recurrent hospital visits and all-cause mortality among older adults with asthma requiring hospital care.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Asthma / etiology*
  • Asthma / mortality
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Indigency / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tennessee / epidemiology