Objective: Asthma is a leading cause of emergency department visits and hospitalizations for children in the United States. As part of a larger study, the purpose of this analysis was to determine which variables were most effective at predicting subsequent pediatric asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
Methods: A retrospective, descriptive study was conducted. Subjects consisted of a convenience sample of 298 children admitted to a New England Children's Hospital in 2006 with a primary diagnosis of asthma. Data from two hospital databases were collected for 12 months before and 12 months after the 2006 admission. Basic descriptive statistics were followed by chi-square tests to determine which variables were associated with emergency department visits and hospitalizations. Logistic regression analysis was used to determine which variables were significant predictors of asthma-related emergency department visits and hospitalizations.
Results: Sixty-percent of all subjects were male. Ninety subjects experienced a total of 145 emergency department visits and 54 experienced a total of 70 hospitalizations. A previous emergency department visit was a significant predictor of both subsequent emergency department visits and subsequent hospitalizations. Age was also an independent risk factor for subsequent hospitalizations. In this sample, the risk of a hospitalization increased with each year increase in age.
Conclusion: These findings support the importance of early identification of children with asthma so that appropriate asthma management can be instituted before an emergency department visit occurs. Furthermore, results suggest involving school-age and preadolescent children in the care of their asthma so that they can be equipped and encouraged to self-manage their own asthma.