Slashing Asthma Hospitalizations

Health-care providers have long insisted that properly managing a child’s asthma will keep him out of the hospital. Now they have proof. A new study reports that as many as 100,000 childhood asthma hospitalizations could be prevented each year if children took their medications on schedule, visited their doctors regularly, avoided asthma triggers and were vaccinated against influenza.

Researchers from the Medical College of Wisconsin asked the parents and doctors of 230 children who were hospitalized because of asthma whether they felt the hospitalization could have been prevented. They reported in the October issue of Pediatrics that when assessments from parents, attending physicians and the child’s primary care physician were combined, 15 percent of hospital visits were considered preventable.

When any single source was considered alone, the preventable rate was as high as 54 percent. Primary reasons cited by experts as factors in unnecessary hospitalizations include neglected preventive doctor visits and failing to use medication as directed.

- Christina Elston

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