Pediatric Asthma Readmission: Asthma Knowledge Is Not Enough?

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To characterize factors associated with readmission for acute asthma exacerbation, particularly around caregiver asthma knowledge, beliefs, and reported adherence to prescribed medication regimens.

Study design

We enrolled 601 children (aged 1–16 years) who had been hospitalized for asthma. Caregivers completed a face-to-face survey regarding their asthma knowledge, beliefs, and medication adherence. Caregivers also reported demographic data, child's asthma severity, exposure to triggers, access to primary care, and financial strains. We prospectively identified asthma readmission events via billing data over a 1-year minimum follow-up period. We examined time to readmission with Cox proportional hazards.


The study cohort's median age was 5 years, 53% were African American, and 57% were covered by Medicaid. At 1 year, 22% had been readmitted for asthma. In the multivariate analysis, a caregiver's demonstration of increased asthma knowledge was associated with increased readmission risk. In addition, children whose caregivers reported less-than-perfect adherence to daily medication regimens had increased readmission risk. Likewise, having previously been admitted for asthma, decreased medical home access, and black race were associated with increased readmission risk.


In a multifactorial assessment of risk factors for asthma readmission, greater asthma knowledge and decreased medication adherence were associated with readmission. Inpatient efforts to prevent readmission might best target medication adherence rather than continuing to primarily provide asthma education.

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