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Very Poorly Controlled Asthma in Urban Minority Children: Lessons Learned

The School's Mel Bellin, PhD, is a co-author of "Very Poorly Controlled Asthma in Urban Minority Children: Lessons Learned" that has been published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.


Very poorly controlled (VPC) asthma in children is associated with ongoing acute exacerbations but factors associated with VPC are understudied.


To examine the risk factors associated with VPC asthma in urban minority children.


This descriptive study examined asthma control levels (well-controlled [WC], not well-controlled [NWC], and VPC) at baseline and 6 months in children participating in an ongoing randomized controlled trial of an emergency department/home environmental control intervention. Data collection occurred during the index emergency department visit and included allergen-specific IgE and salivary cotinine testing and caregiver interview of sociodemographic and child health characteristics. Follow-up data were collected at 6 months. Unadjusted analyses examined the association of sociodemographic and health characteristics by level of asthma control. Multivariate analysis tested significant factors associated with VPC asthma at 6 months.


At baseline most children were categorized with VPC asthma (WC, 0%; NWC, 47%; VPC, 53%) and rates of VPC minimally improved at 6 months (WC, 13%; NWC, 41%; VPC, 46%). Risk for VPC asthma was twice as likely in children with allergic rhinitis (odds ratio [OR], 2.42), having 2 or more primary care provider asthma visits within the past 3 months (OR, 2.77), or caregiver worry about medication side effects (OR, 2.13) and 3 to 4 times more likely when asthma control was assessed during the fall or spring season (OR: fall, 3.32; spring, 4.14).


Improving asthma control in low-income, high-risk children with VPC asthma requires treatment of comorbidities, attention to caregiver medication beliefs, and adept use of stepwise therapy.

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