Background: As the quality of asthma care influences hospital admission rates, we described hospitalizations for asthma and studied trends in admission rates in France from 1998 to 2002.
Methods: Using data from the French hospital information system, admissions for asthma were defined by the J45 or J46 codes (ICD-10) as primary diagnosis, and admissions for acute respiratory failure (ARF) associated with asthma by the J96.0 code as primary diagnosis and the J45 or J46 codes as an associated diagnosis. Annual rates of admission adjusted for age and sex were calculated.
Results: During the study period, the adjusted asthma admission rate decreased by 5% per year (from 10.8/10,000 in 1998 to 8.6/10,000 in 2002). A significant decrease was observed in children aged 10-14 years (-5%/year) and in older people (from -7%/year in 15-19 years old to -9%/year in people aged 50 years or more), whereas no significant decrease was seen in youngest children (-2%/year in children aged 0-1 or 5-9 years, +0.1%/year in those aged 2-4 years). Although not statistically significant, an increase in admission rate for ARF associated with asthma was observed (+5%/year).
Conclusion: Admission rates for asthma decreased between 1998 and 2002 in people aged 10 years and older. However, changes in coding practices or admission policies cannot be excluded and the extent to which the observed trends reflect changes in preventive care among patients with asthma remains to be assessed.