Background: Bronchial asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in Singapore and the prevalence is increasing. Despite this, the worldwide mortality rate from asthma has been noted to be low at an average of 2.0 per 100,000 people in developed countries such as the United States. Risk factors for fatal asthma attacks that have been described include excessive use of short acting beta-agonists, errors in clinical judgement, poor compliance, psychosocial disorders, use of three or more groups of asthma medication and indicators of asthma severity.
Aim: We aim to study the incidence of asthma deaths occurring in the emergency department of a tertiary care hospital in Singapore.
Methods: Of the total number of patients at the Department of Emergency Medicine in Singapore General Hospital from January 1999 to June 2005, eight fatalities were attributed to exacerbation of bronchial asthma. The characteristics of these patients are described.
Results: A low incidence of asthma-related deaths is found in Singapore.