VOLUME 37 | ISSUE 6 | NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2017

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The association between body mass index and frequency of emergency department visits and hospitalization for asthma exacerbation in a pediatric population

Ghadah Abdulrahman Alhekail,a Alaa Althubaiti,a Sulaiman AlQuefliea,b

From the aCollege of Medicine, King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; bDepartment of Pediatrics, King Abdullah Specialized Children’s Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 

How to cite this article:

Alhekail GA, Althubaiti A, AlQuefliea S. The association between body mass index and frequency of emergency department visits and hospitalization for asthma exacerbation in a pediatric population. Ann Saudi Med 2017; 37(6): 415-419.

DOI: 10.5144/0256-4947.2017.415

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The prevalence of both asthma and obesity are increasing. Although some studies suggest an association between body mass index (BMI) and frequency of emergency department (ED) visits and hospitalization for asthma exacerbation, any association remains unproven. 

 

OBJECTIVE: Estimate the frequency of asthma exacerbation in obese children, and identify any relationship between BMI and frequency of ED visits and hospitalization for asthma exacerbation. 

 

DESIGN: Retrospective review of medical records.

 

SETTINGS: Tertiary children’s hospital, Riyadh.

 

SUBJECTS AND METHODS: All children aged 2–15 years who attended the ED for asthma exacerbation between January 2015 and January 2016 were included. Children with comorbidities or undocumented asthma were excluded. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BMI-for-age growth charts for boys and girls aged 2 to 20 years were used to classify underweight, normal, overweight, and obese.

 

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The frequency of ED visits and the rate, frequency, and duration of hospitalization.

 

RESULTS: Of the 1000 cases reviewed, 64.6% were boys and the mean age (standard deviation) of all sub.jects was 5.6 (3.3) years. The proportions of overweight and obese children was 11.8% and 12.1%, respectively. There was no association between increased BMI and frequency of ED visits for asthma exacerbation (P=.84), duration of hospitalization (P=.41) or frequency of hospitalization (P=.89).

 

CONCLUSION: There was no evidence of an association between BMI and frequency of ED visits and hospitalization for asthma exacerbation among children. 

 

LIMITATIONS: This study included patients as young as 2 years, while asthma is only well-defined in children >5 years. Asthma triggers that can cause exacerbation despite body weight were not included. We included only frequency of ED visits and hospitalization, which may be inadequate to measure asthma severity. 

 

 

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