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Children, Asthma exacerbation, Asthma hospitalization
Background: Asthma hospitalization rates in Chilean children have increased in the last 14 years, but little is known about the factors associated with this.
Objective: Describe clinical characteristics of children hospitalized for asthma exacerbation.
Methods: Observational prospective cohort study in 14 hospitals. Over a one-year period, children five years of age or older hospitalized with asthma exacerbation were eligible for inclusion. Parents completed an online questionnaire with questions on demographic information, about asthma, indoor environmental contaminant exposure, comorbidities and beliefs about disease and treatment. Disease control was assessed by the Asthma Control Test. Inhalation technique was observed using a checklist.
Results: 396 patients were enrolled. 168 children did not have an established diagnosis of asthma. Only 188 used at least one controller treatment at the time of hospitalization. 208 parents said they believed their child had asthma only when they had an exacerbation and 97 correctly identified inhaled corticosteroids as anti-inflammatory treatment. 342 patients used the wrong spacer and 73 correctly performed all steps of the checklist.
Conclusions: Almost half of the patients were not diagnosed with asthma at the time of hospitalization despite having a medical history suggestive of the disease. In the remaining patients with an established diagnosis of asthma potentially modifiable factors like bad adherence to treatment and poor inhalation technique were found. Implementing a nationwide asthma program including continued medical education for the correct diagnosis and follow up of these patients and asthma education for patients and caregivers is needed to reduce asthma hospitalization rates in Chilean children.
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