Risk factors for asthmatic patients requiring intubation. I. Observations in children

Sean Leson, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


There are significant concerns regarding the increased mortality of patients with asthma. Indeed the paradox of improved pharmacotherapy but worsening prognosis has been explored in depth in several studies including observations in epidemiology, access to medical care, and drug toxicity. Because of our ability to track all admissions to a tertiary-care hospital, we attempted to define the demographic data from a population of asthmatic children admitted for asthma in order to identify risk factors for intubation. We performed a retrospective cohort study of all asthma admissions excluding patients with cystic fibrosis. This study included all asthmatics aged 5-12 years admitted over a 10-year period (1984-1994) to the University of California at Davis Medical Center, Sacramento. A total of 300 such asthma admissions were reviewed, involving 135 girls and 165 boys, mean age 7.7 ± 2.4 years. Of this group, 166 children were black, 70 were Caucasian, 49 were Hispanic, 14 were Asian, and 1 was an American Indian. By National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute guidelines, this group included 147 mild, 117 moderate, and 36 severe cases. Thirteen children required intubation for their asthma. Significant risk factors indentified for children requiring intubation, compared to those who did not require intubation, were secondhand smoke exposure [odds ratio (O.R.) 22.4; 95% confidence interval (C.I.) 7.4, 68.0], psychosocial problems (O.R. 13.5; 95% C.I. 5.1, 36.0), family dysfunction (O.R. 13.0; 95% C.I. 3.9, 43.9), upper respiratory infection (O.R. 10.2; 95% C.I. 3.4, 28.1), little formal education (O.R. 8.7; 95% C.I. 2.4, 31.6), prior asthma emergency room visit in past year (O.R. 7.2; 95% C.I. 1.9, 27.1), prior asthma hospitalization in past year (O.R. 7.1; 95% C.I. 2.2, 22.2), crowding (O.R. 6.9; 95% C.I. 2.5, 19.1), low socioeconomic status (O.R. 6.5; 95% C.I. 2.1, 20.8), steroid-dependent (O.R. 3.8; 95% C.I. 1.2, 12.1), parental history of allergy or asthma (O.R. 3.4; 95% C.I. 1.1, 10.0), and language barrier (O.R. 3.3; 95% C.I. 1.1, 10.6). Nonsignificant mild risk factors included inhaled cromolyn (O.R. 2.7; 95% C.I. 0.7, 10.0), atopy (O.R. 1.9; 95% C.I. 0.6, 5.9), and prior intubation (O.R. 1.6; 95% C.I. 0.2, 13.1). These risk parameters may be important determinants of baseline risk for asthma deaths and their recognition may have a significant impact on preventive measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-294
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Asthma
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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