Multiple issues bear on effective control of childhood asthma.
To identify factors related to the level of asthma control in children receiving asthma care from community pediatricians.
Patients and Methods
Data for 362 children participating in an intervention study to reduce asthma morbidity were collected by telephone administered questionnaire. Level of asthma control (“well controlled,” partially controlled,” or “poorly controlled”) was derived from measures of recent impairment (symptoms, activity limitations, albuterol use) and the number of exacerbations in a 12 month period. Data also included demographic characteristics, asthma-related quality of life, pediatric management practices, and medication usage. Univariable and multivariable analyses were used to identify factors associated with poor asthma control and to explore the relationship between control and use of daily controller medications.
Asthma was “well controlled” for 24% of children, “partially controlled” for 20%, and “poorly controlled” for 56%. Medicaid insurance (p=0.016), the presence of another family member with asthma (p=0.0168), and outside the home maternal employment, (p=0.025), were significant univariable factors associated with poor asthma control. Medicaid insurance had an independent association with poor control (OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.28-0.9). Seventy-six percent of children were reported by parents as receiving a daily controller medication. Comparison of guidelines recommended controller medication with level of control indicated that a higher step level of medication would have been appropriate for 74% of these children. Significantly lower overall quality of life scores were observed in both parents and children with poor control. (ANOVA, p<0.05)
Despite substantial use of daily controller medication, children with asthma continue to experience poorly controlled asthma and reduced quality of life. While Medicaid insurance and aspects of family structure are significant factors associated with poorly controlled asthma, attention to medication use and quality of life indicators may further reduce morbidity.
Keywords: Childhood asthma, asthma control, asthma outcomes