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Risk factors for return to the emergency department for asthma: a population-based study

To T, Zhu J, Ryckman K, Gershon A. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2018; 6(6):1907-13.e4. Epub 2018 Apr 30.


Background — A substantial proportion of patients with asthma return after being discharged from the emergency department (ED). Given the high economic burden of acute care claims, and the impact on productivity and quality of life, a better understanding of risk factors for ED return is of interest.

Objective — To quantify the rate and determine factors associated with return to the ED for asthma within 1 year of an initial ED visit for asthma.

Methods — Individuals aged 5 to 99 years living in Ontario, Canada, with an ED visit for asthma in the period 2008 to 2014 were included. Descriptive statistics were used to compare those with an ED return to those without an ED return. An adjusted modified Poisson regression model was used to estimate the relative risk of ED return for asthma within 1 year after the initial discharge.

Results — In total, 58,366 individuals met the inclusion criteria. At 1-year follow-up, 12.1% returned to the ED at least once. Younger age, being materially deprived, and having chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were significantly associated with increased risk of ED return within 1 year after the initial visit.

Conclusion — Nearly 1 in 8 individuals with a first ED visit for asthma returned to the ED within a year of the initial ED discharge. Targeting those at risk for ED return may help improve health care costs, productivity, and quality of life.

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