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Airway Diseases

A territory‐wide study on the factors associated with recurrent asthma exacerbations requiring hospitalization in Hong Kong

Ka Pang Chan | Fanny Wai San Ko | Kwun Cheung Ling | Pik Shan Cheung | Lee Veronica Chan | Yu Hong Chan | Yi Tat Lo | Chun Kong Ng | Macy Mei‐sze Lui | Kwok Sang Wilson Yee | Cee Zhung Steven Tseng | Pak Yiu Tse | Mo Lin Maureen Wong | Kah Lin Choo | Wai Kei Lam | Chun Man Wong | Sheng Sheng Ho | Chung Tat Lun | Christopher Kei Wai Lai
On behalf of the Hong Kong Thoracic Society Special Interest Group on Airway Diseases.

Immun Inflamm Dis. 2021 Mar 3. doi: 10.1002/iid3.419. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33657275.

Background: The real‐world relationships between the demographic and clinical characteristics of asthma patients, their prehospitalization management and the frequency of hospitalization due to asthma exacerbation is poorly established.

Objective: To determine the risk factors of recurrent asthma exacerbations requiring hospitalizations and evaluate the standard of baseline asthma care. Methods: A territory‐wide, multicentre retrospective study in Hong Kong was performed. Medical records of patients aged ≥18 years admitted to 11 acute general hospitals from January 1 to December 31, 2016 for asthma exacerbations were reviewed.

Results: There were 2280 patients with 3154 admissions (36.7% male, median age 66.0 [interquartile range: 48.0–81.0] years, 519 had ≥2 admissions). Among them, 1830 (80.3%) had at least one asthma‐associated comorbidity, 1060 (46.5%) and 885 (38.9%) of patients had Accident and Emergency Department (AED) attendance and hospitalization in the preceding year, respectively. Patients with advancing age (incidence rate ratio [IRR]: 1.003 for every year increment), a history of AED visits or hospitalization (IRR: 1.018 and 1.070 for every additional episode, respectively) for asthma exacerbation in the preceding year, the presence of neuropsychiatric (IRR: 1.142) and gastrointestinal (IRR: 1.154) comorbidities were risk factors for an increasing number of admissions for asthma exacerbation. For patients with ≥2 admissions, 17.1% were not prescribed inhaled corticosteroid and only 44.6% had spirometry checked before the index admission. Asthma phenotyping was often incomplete, as assessment of atopy (total serum immunoglobulin E level and senitization to aeroallergens) was only performed in 30 (5.8%) patients with ≥2 admissions.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance: Improving asthma care, especially in elderly patients with a prior history of urgent healthcare utilization and comorbidities, may help reduce healthcare burden. Suboptimal management before the index admission was common in patients hospitalized for asthma exacerbations. Early identification of patients at risk and enhancement of baseline asthma management may help to prevent recurrent asthma exacerbation and subsequent hospitalization.

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