objectives: To characterize the patterns and correlates of asthma
hospitalizations and mortality in Chicago.
Cross-sectional analysis of discharge data for 1996 and mortality time
trend data for the period from 1990 to 1997.
The city of Chicago, IL, with Cook County, IL, and US data employed for
Population studied: People who were
hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of asthma and people whose
underlying cause of death was asthma.
Measurements and results: The 1996 asthma
hospitalization rate for Chicago was 42.8 per 10,000, more than twice
as high as suburban Chicago or US rates. Medicaid patients were
overrepresented. Length of stay was longer for older patients and
Medicaid patients. Age-adjusted asthma mortality in Chicago was 4.7
times higher in non-Hispanic blacks than in non-Hispanic whites. The
black/white asthma mortality ratio is 2.5:1 for the nation overall.
Asthma mortality rates for Hispanics in Chicago were between those of
non-Hispanic whites and blacks but have almost doubled during this
Conclusions: The rising asthma mortality and
high asthma hospitalization rates in Chicago constitute a significant
public health problem. Comorbidities more common in urban environments,
such as substance abuse, may play a unique role in determining the
distribution of adverse outcomes within Chicago’s population. Asthma
hospitalizations and deaths may vary in their risk profiles, and this
should be taken into account when developing research and intervention