Very Poorly Controlled Asthma in Urban Minority Children: Lessons Learned

Arlene M. Butz, Melissa Bellin, Mona Tsoukleris, Shawna S. Mudd, Joan Kub, Jean Ogborn, Tricia Morphew, Cassia Lewis-Land, Mary Elizabeth Bollinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: Very poorly controlled (VPC) asthma in children is associated with ongoing acute exacerbations but factors associated with VPC are understudied. Objective: To examine the risk factors associated with VPC asthma in urban minority children. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)844-852
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Asthma control
  • Children
  • Stepwise therapy
  • Very poorly controlled asthma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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