Background: There is evidence that prevalence and severity of asthma in children has risen. Risk factors for severe asthma have been studied extensively in children living in developed countries, but little is known about factors determining the severity of asthma in Latin American countries. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of suspected, potential risk factors for asthma severity in a population of children living in urban Bogota.
Methods: We studied 175 children, 2 to 16 years old, with asthma attending an asthma clinic. Severe cases and nonsevere asthmatic subjects were compared regarding suspected, potential pre-, peri-, and postnatal risk factors.
Results: After controlling for asthma duration, we found that children never breast fed (OR, 11.53; 95% CI, 2.35-56.50; p = 0.003), mothers 30 years or younger at the child's birth (OR, 3.44; 95% CI, 1.23-9.63; p = 0.019), usual use of acetaminophen for fever in the child in the 12 months previous to the survey application (OR, 3.13; 95% CI, 1.14-8.56; p = 0.026), older siblings at birth (OR, 3.81; 95% CI, 1.28-11.32; p = 0.016), and primary or secondary school as the highest level of education attained by mother (OR, 3.20; 95% CI, 1.01-10.07; p = 0.046) were all independent predictors of severe asthma.
Conclusion: No breastfeeding, maternal age at child's birth of less than 30 years, routine use of acetaminophen for fever in the child in the 12 months previous to the survey application, older siblings at birth, and primary or secondary school as the highest level of education attained by mother were independent predictors of severe asthma. Some of these risk factors are clearly modifiable. Further prospective, population-based studies with a bigger sample size and a more representative sample of the general population residing in the city are needed to retest and clarify these associations.