Risk Factors Associated With Frequent Acute Exacerbations of Asthma

Cureus. 2020 Oct 22;12(10):e11090. doi: 10.7759/cureus.11090.


Introduction: Asthma can lead to fatigue, frequent hospital visits, psychological problems, and learning problems in children. One of the complications of asthma is its life-threatening acute exacerbation. It is important to identify precipitating factors responsible for frequent acute exacerbations of asthma.

Methods: This case-control study was conducted in the pulmonology ward of Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences, Jamshoro, from May 2019 to February 2020. Sampling was done by convenient probability technique. The case group was identified as patients with two or more episodes of acute exacerbation of asthma and the control group was identified as asthmatic patients without acute exacerbation in the last year.

Results: Factors leading to acute exacerbation of asthma include number of asthma attacks in the past seven days (4.9 ± 3.4 vs. 2.2 ± 2.0; p < 0.0001) and number of nights with troublesome cough in the past 28 days (12.2 ± 8.1 vs. 4.3 ± 3.1; p < 0.0001). Participants with recent upper respiratory tract infection (38.4% vs. 10%; odds ratio [OR] 5.62), smoking history (30.7% vs. 12%; OR 3.25), gastroesophageal reflux disease (26.9% vs. 8.0%; OR 4.2) and non-adherence to medication (26.9% vs. 8.0%; OR 4.2) were more likely to experience from exacerbation of asthma.

Conclusion: It is important to identify risk factors that may cause acute exacerbation of asthma in the patients. Patients should be educated of the risk factors and complications of the exacerbation episode of asthma.

Keywords: acute exacerbations; asthma; risk factors.