Improved asthma outcomes in a high-morbidity pediatric population: results of an emergency department-based randomized clinical trial

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006 May;160(5):535-41. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.160.5.535.


Objective: To determine if an emergency department-based asthma follow-up clinic could improve outcomes within a high-morbidity pediatric population.

Design: Prospective, randomized clinical trial with 6 months of follow-up.

Setting: Emergency department of an urban pediatric medical center.

Participants: Convenience sample of 488 patients aged 12 months to 17 years, inclusive, with prior physician-diagnosed asthma and 1 or more other unscheduled visits in the previous 6 months and/or 1 or more hospitalizations in the prior 12 months.

Intervention: Single follow-up clinic visit focusing on 3 domains: asthma self-monitoring and management, environmental modification and trigger control, and linkages and referrals to ongoing care.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome measure was unscheduled visits for acute asthma care. Secondary outcomes included compliance with a medical plan and asthma quality of life. Analysis was by intention to treat with adjustment for baseline differences.

Results: Of those randomized to the clinic visit, 172 (70.5%) of 244 attended. The intervention group had significantly fewer mean unscheduled visits for asthma care during follow-up (1.39 vs 2.34; relative risk [RR] = 0.60 [95% confidence interval (CI), 0.46-0.77]). At 6 months, significantly more patients in the intervention group reported use of inhaled corticosteroids in the prior 2 days (49.3% vs 26.5%; RR = 2.03 [95% CI, 1.57-2.62]), no limitation in daytime quality of life (43.8% vs 34.4%; RR = 1.36 [95% CI, 1.06-1.73]), and no functional limitations in quality of life (49.8% vs 40.8%; RR = 1.33 [95% CI, 1.08-1.63]).

Conclusion: Attendance in the follow-up clinic was high. The intervention decreased subsequent unscheduled health care use while improving compliance and quality of life.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / prevention & control*
  • Bedding and Linens
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disease Management*
  • District of Columbia
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Referral and Consultation
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / prevention & control
  • Urban Health Services / organization & administration


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution