Children With Asthma Admitted to a Pediatric Observation Unit
Observation units (OUs) serve patients who require more evaluation or treatment than possible during an emergency department visit and who are anticipated to stay in the hospital for a short defined period. Asthma is a common admission diagnosis in a pediatric OU. Our main objective was to identify clinical factors associated with failure to discharge a child with asthma from our OU within 24 hours.Methods:
Retrospective chart review at a tertiary care children's hospital. Participants were children 2 years or older with asthma admitted from the emergency department to the OU during August 1999 to August 2001. The OU-discharged group comprised those successfully discharged from the OU within 24 hours. The unplanned inpatient admission group comprised those subsequently admitted from the OU to a traditional inpatient ward or those readmitted to the hospital within 48 hours of OU discharge.Results:
One hundred sixty-one children aged 2 to 20 years (median 4.0; 63% boys) met inclusion criteria; 40 patients (25%) required unplanned inpatient admission. In a multiple logistic regression model, 3 factors were associated with need for unplanned inpatient admission: female sex (adjusted odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-6.4; P = 0.03), temperature 38.5°C or higher (adjusted odds ratio, 6.1; 95% confidence interval, 1.6-23.5; P < 0.01), and need for supplemental oxygen at the end of emergency department management (adjusted odds ratio, 5; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-15.1; P < 0.01).Conclusions:
Many children with asthma can be admitted to a pediatric OU and discharged safely within 24 hours. Prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings and to identify other factors predictive of unplanned inpatient admission.