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Asthma Health Center

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Asthma Attacks From Allergies Send Kids to ICU

Study Shows Allergy-Induced Asthma Attacks Raise Odds of Treatment in Intensive Care Units
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Nov. 2, 2010 -- Children whose asthma attacks are triggered by allergic reactions are much more likely to wind up being treated in intensive care units for severe symptoms of the lung disease, a new study shows.

Researchers at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center studied data on 188 children who were admitted to the hospital for asthma attacks between July 2008 and July 2009.

They report that 30% of those children -- 57 altogether -- had symptoms so severe that they had to be sent for treatment in the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU). The study shows that the children admitted to ICUs were significantly more likely to have had an asthma attack triggered by allergies.

Also, children admitted to intensive care units had been sick for significantly shorter periods before being admitted to the hospital, the researchers say.

Seasonal Changes

The researchers also report that the month of hospital admission was a significant factor in the severity of asthma attacks.

In both August and October, children were much more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit vs. the hospital ward than in other months.

Allergies seemed to trigger rapidly progressing illness, requiring ICU treatment.

The researchers conclude that allergic reactions, perhaps triggered by seasonal changes, may increase the incidence of admissions for asthma attacks to intensive care units.

About 10,000 children a year in the U.S. are treated for asthma in intensive care units.

The study is being presented during CHEST 2010, the American College of Chest Physicians’ annual meeting that runs through Nov. 4 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

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