Burden of uncontrolled asthma may be higher than thought

October 1, 2010

Investigators surveyed 2,429 children with a diagnosis of asthma at 29 pediatric caresites across the United States to estimate the prevalence of uncontrolled asthma in patients who visited their primary care provider for any medical reason.

Investigators surveyed 2,429 children with a diagnosis of asthma at 29 pediatric care sites across the United States to estimate the prevalence of uncontrolled asthma in patients who visited their primary care provider for any medical reason. The children ranged in age from 7 to 14 years (mean age, 9.2 years). They or their caretakers completed the Childhood Asthma Control Test or the Asthma Control Test (clinically validated, age-specific assessments of asthma control) and responded to demographic and health-related questions.

The prevalence of uncontrolled asthma was 46% overall but higher in patients seen for a respiratory complaint (54%) than in patients seen for a nonrespiratory complaint (35%). Compared with children with controlled asthma, children with uncontrolled asthma were more likely to have had 1 or more asthma exacerbations in the previous 12 months (50% vs 33%) and to have missed 1 or more school days in the previous 4 weeks (67% vs 29%). The caretakers of children with uncontrolled asthma were more likely to have missed at least 1 day of work in the previous 4 weeks (49% vs 17%).

Trends in asthma exacerbations, missed school days, and missed work days were similar for patients seen for respiratory complaints and patients seen for nonrespiratory complaints. For missed school days and missed work days, however, the magnitude of the difference between patients with uncontrolled asthma and patients with controlled asthma was much greater in patients seen for respiratory complaints than in patients seen for nonrespiratory complaints (Liu AH, et al. J Pediatr. 2010;157[2]: 276-281).