OBJECTIVES. Factors predictive of future asthma must be identified among young inner-city children, who suffer disproportionately from asthma. We investigated whether current asthma control predicts future asthma-related health care use among inner-city preschool-aged children with asthma. METHODS. A total of 150 inner-city preschool-aged children with asthma were followed prospectively for 6 months. At baseline, symptom frequency and reliever-medication use were assessed to classify children into National Asthma Education and Prevention Program-derived control categories. Long-term controller-medication use was also assessed, as well as asthma-related health care use at baseline and at 3 and 6 months. RESULTS. The mean age was 4.4 years, 92% were black, and 39% reported long-term controller use. At baseline, 37% were classified as having mild-intermittent, 17% had mild-persistent, 21% had moderate-persistent, and 25% had severe-persistent asthma control. Significant changes in asthma control were observed over time, including 46% of children originally categorized with mild-intermittent asthma who had worsened asthma control by 3 months. Asthma control significantly predicted future health care use 3 months later but not 6 months later. Multivariate analyses showed that, once control status was known, reported use of longterm controller medication added little additional predictive value. CONCLUSIONS. Among inner-city preschool-aged children, significant fluctuations in asthma control occur as early as 3 months after assessment. Poor control but not long-term controller-medication use is an independent predictor of future asthma-related health care use at 3 months but is not significantly predictive of 6-month outcomes. Therefore, clinicians caring for inner-city children with asthma should consider reassessing asthma control at least every 3 months to identify those at highest future risk and to provide early interventions.
- Health care use
- Inner city
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health