PURPOSE: Although childhood obesity has been associated with increased hospital length of stay for patients with status asthmaticus, the possible relationship between obesity and hospital admission for asthma has not been evaluated. Our hypothesis was that obese children presenting to the Emergency Department (ED) with an asthma exacerbation were more likely to be admitted to the hospital than non-obese children.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review was conducted that included all children greater than two years of age presenting to the ED with an asthma exacerbation in calendar year 2005. Children with chronic medical conditions other than asthma were excluded. Children were classified as non-obese (<95% weight-for-age percentile) or obese (>95% weight-for-age).
RESULTS: During the study period, there were 884 visits to the ED for an asthma exacerbation by 813 children: 238 (27%) were admitted to the hospital and 33 (4%) were admitted to the ICU. Overall, hospital admission was associated with higher clinical asthma score, but not with age, gender, or poverty status (as quantified as home in “zip code” areas designated as “impoverished”). However, in the obese group (n=202; 23%), the children were significantly older (8.5 + 4.4 vs. 7.3 + 4.3 years; p<0.001) and more likely to live in an impoverished area (37% vs. 28%; p=0.02). Although presenting clinical asthma score and therapeutic interventions in the ED were virtually identical in the two groups, obese children were significantly more likely to be admitted to the hospital (34% vs. 25%, p=0.01).
CONCLUSION: Obese children presenting to the ED with acute asthma exacerbations are significantly more likely to be admitted to the hospital than non-obese children.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Childhood obesity significantly impacts the health of children with asthma.
DISCLOSURE: Christopher Carroll, None.