Trends and ethnic differences in asthma hospitalization rates in Singapore, 1991 to 1998

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2003 Jan;90(1):51-5. doi: 10.1016/S1081-1206(10)63614-9.


Background: A few reports have indicated that asthma hospitalization rates in several countries have stopped rising or started falling in the 1990s.

Aim: To describe recent trends and ethnic differences in asthma hospitalization rates in Singapore from 1991 to 1998.

Methods: Asthma hospitalization rates in all hospitals were analyzed by age groups, sex, ethnicity, and individual years, using aggregated data for asthma (ICD-9 493 and ICD-10 J45, J46) from 1991 to 1998, when nationwide data from the Central Claims Processing System were available.

Results: Between 1991 and 1998 there were a total of 37,615 hospital admissions for asthma, giving an annual average rate of 17.1 hospital admissions per 10,000 persons. Overall, the rates of asthma hospitalization fell by 28% from 21.7 per 10,000 in 1991 to 15.4 per 10,000 in 1998 (3.5% annually). The trends were broadly based across all age, sex, and ethnic groups. Hospitalizations were more common in boys than in girls aged 0 to 4 (male/female ratio 1.69), but less common in men than women aged 35 to 64 (male/female ratio 0.81). Rates of asthma hospital admissions were higher in Malays (32.8 per 10,000) and Indians (40.8 per 10,000) than Chinese (11.9 per 10,000).

Conclusions: In line with findings from several countries, there have been recent declines in rates of hospital admissions for asthma in Singapore in the 1990s. The declines were broadly based across all population subgroups and parallel previously observed declines in mortality in adults. However, considerable ethnic differences in levels of asthma hospitalization still exist.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Asthma / ethnology*
  • Asthma / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Admission / trends*
  • Sex Factors
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Time Factors