Characteristics of inner-city children with life-threatening asthma

Mary Elizabeth Bollinger, Arlene Butz, Mona Tsoukleris, Cassia Lewis-Land, Shawna Mudd, Tricia Morphew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Intensive care unit (ICU) admission is a risk factor for fatal asthma. Little is known about risk factors for pediatric ICU admissions for asthma. Objective: To examine characteristics of underserved minority children with prior ICU admissions for asthma. Methods: Baseline survey data, salivary cotinine levels, and allergen specific IgE serologic test results were obtained from children with uncontrolled asthma enrolled in a randomized clinical trial of a behavioral education environmental control intervention. Characteristics of children with and without prior ICU admission were compared using χ 2 and t tests. Logistic regression assessed significance of higher odds of prior ICU admission comparing factor-level categories. Results: Patients included 222 primarily African American (93.7%), male (56%), Medicaid-insured (92.8%) children with a mean (SD) age of 6.4 (2.7) years with uncontrolled asthma. Most (57.9%) had detectable cotinine levels, 82.6% were sensitized to more than 1 environmental allergen, and 27.9% had prior ICU admissions. Prior ICU patients were more likely to be very poor (<$10,000 per year) and sensitized to more than 1 allergen tested (most importantly mouse) (P <.05). Allergen sensitization in the groups did not differ for cockroach, cat, dog, Alternaria, Aspergillus, dust mite, grass, or tree. Although more ICU patients received combination controller therapy, they also overused albuterol. Only 27.4% of ICU patients received specialty care in the previous 2 years, which was not significantly different from non-ICU patients. Conclusion: Children with high mortality risk, including history of ICU admission, were twice as likely to live in extreme poverty, have atopy (particularly mouse allergen), use combination controller therapy, and overuse albuterol. Trial Registration: Identifier: NCT01981564.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-386
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Characteristics of inner-city children with life-threatening asthma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this