National Prevalence of Poor Asthma Control and Associated Outcomes Among School-Aged Children in the United States

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Background: The degree of asthma control among school-aged children (SAC) nationally is not well understood. Objective: The objective of this study was to characterize poor control among SAC (aged 6-17 years) in the United States. Methods: This was a retrospective analysis of the 2007-2013 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Indicators of poor control included exacerbation in previous year; use of >3 canisters of short-acting β-agonist (SABA) in 3 months; and asthma-specific (AS) emergency department (ED) or inpatient (IP) visits. Treatment indicators included daily controller medication and peak flow meter use. Negative binomial regression was used for health resource utilization (HRU); generalized linear models with log-link were used for health care expenditures. Results: There were 44,320 SAC, of whom 5,890 had asthma. The prevalence of poor control and treatment among SAC with asthma were as follows: exacerbation (59%), >3 canisters of SABA (4%), ED/IP visit (3%), daily controller (19%), peak flow (12%). In 2013, 3.4 million SAC had an asthma exacerbation and 200,000 had an AS ED/IP visit. SAC with asthma and an exacerbation had 18.9 times more annual AS ED visits (and 43.3 times more AS hospitalizations) than SAC with asthma but no exacerbation. SAC with asthma and an indicator of poor control incurred greater annual all-cause expenditures than SAC without asthma ($US 2015): $1,144 (exacerbation), $1,859 (≥3 canisters of SABA), and $3,063 (ED/IP visit). Use of daily controller medication was low even among SAC with poor control (27% to 61%). Conclusion: Renewed and vigilant asthma management and treatment is necessary to mitigate the current and long-term public health effects and expenditures associated with poor asthma control.

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