Background: Children with severe/difficult-to-treat asthma experience high morbidity including frequent severe exacerbations. More knowledge is required to identify predictors of these exacerbations to reduce their occurrence.
Objective: To investigate the risk of future severe exacerbations (FSEs) in children with severe/difficult-to-treat asthma and recent severe exacerbations (RSEs).
Methods: We analyzed the occurrence and association of RSE (defined as 1 or more corticosteroid bursts during the 3 months before each of 3 annual visits) and FSE (defined as 1 or more corticosteroid bursts 6 or 12 months later) in children age 6 to 11 years in The Epidemiology and Natural History of Asthma: Outcomes and Treatment Regimens 3-year observational study. Repeated measures logistic regression analysis assessed the risk of FSE adjusted for demographics and clinical variables.
Results: In a multivariable model, FSE at 6 months was most strongly predicted by RSE (odds ratio [OR], 3.08; 95% CI, 2.21-4.28) and having 3 to 4 allergic triggers (OR, 2.05; 95% CI, 1.31-3.20). Race (OR, 1.77; 95% CI, 1.25-2.51) and being very poorly controlled according to the impairment component of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines (OR, 1.59; 95% CI, 1.14-2.23) also significantly predicted FSE.
Conclusion: Recent severe asthma exacerbations are an important independent predictor of FSE in children with severe/difficult-to-treat asthma and should be considered when establishing asthma management plans.