Decline in admissions for childhood asthma, a 26-year period population-based study

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Abstract

Background:

The prevalence of childhood asthma has increased, although the rate of hospitalization for asthma seems to decrease. In Norway, the rate of hospital admission for childhood asthma from 1984 to 2000 increased. The aim of this study was to assess further trends in hospital admissions for childhood asthma up to 2010.

Methods:

A population-based study including children 1–13 yrs of age hospitalized for asthma during six periods from 1984/1985 to 2009/2010 in Rogaland, Norway, was performed. Medical records from 1536 admissions (1050 children) were studied; and gender, age, number of admissions, length of hospital stay, medications and symptoms were recorded.

Results:

For all age groups, the rate of admissions per 10.000 increased from 20.1 in 1984/85 to 33.7 in 1989/90, but declined to 14.4 in 2009/2010. Rates were highest in boys (OR 1.87; 95% CI: 1.69, 2.09), younger age groups (OR 2.51; 2.38, 2.64) and decreased from 1984 to 2010 (OR 0.92; 0.88, 0.94). The rates of readmissions were higher than for primary admissions (OR 1.33; 1.19, 1.47). From 1984 to 2010, there was an increased use of inhaled corticosteroids prior to admission (6 to 51%) and started at discharge (7 to 37%), and systemic steroids given during admission (19 to 83%).

Conclusion:

There has been a substantial decline in the rate of hospital admissions for childhood asthma after 1989/1990, with major differences between age groups and genders. The decline could be due to improved care of children with asthma or a real reduction in asthma exacerbations.

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