Objective: The aim of this study was to identify risk factors for long-term adverse outcomes in children with asthma after visiting the emergency department (ED).
Methods: A prospective observational study was conducted at the ED of a pediatric tertiary hospital in Ontario, Canada. Patient outcomes (ie, acute asthma episodes and ED visits) were measured at baseline and at 1- and 6-months post-ED discharge. Time trends in outcomes were assessed using the generalized estimating equations method. Multiple conditional logistic regressions were used to model outcomes at 6 months and examine the impact of drug insurance coverage while adjusting for confounders.
Results: Of the 269 children recruited, 81.8% completed both follow-ups. ED use significantly reduced from 39.4% at baseline to 26.8% at 6 months (P < .001), whereas the level of acute asthma episodes remained unchanged. Children with drug insurance coverage were less likely to have acute asthma episodes (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.36; 95% CI, 0.15-0.85; P < .02) or repeat ED visits (AOR = 0.45; 95% CI, 0.20-0.99; P < .05) at 6 months. Other risk factors for adverse outcomes included previous adverse asthma events and certain asthma triggers (eg, cold/sinus infection). Washing bed linens in hot water weekly was protective against subsequent acute asthma episodes.
Conclusions: Our study demonstrated significant improvements in long-term outcomes in children seeking acute care for asthma in the ED. Future efforts remain in targeting the sustainability of improved outcomes beyond 6 months. Risk factors identified can help target vulnerable populations for proper interventions, which may include efforts to maximize insurance coverage for asthma medications and strategies to improve asthma self-management through patient and provider education.