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Smoking, Poor Inhaler Use Up Risk of Asthma Emergencies

Study delineates risk factors for increased use of acute health care among adult asthma patients

TUESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Ethnicity, lack of follow-up, poor inhaler use and smoking all increase the use of acute health care among adult asthma patients, according to a study in the December issue of the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

Tze-Pin Ng, M.D., of the National University of Singapore, and colleagues used longitudinal data from a national adult asthma program to determine what role risk factors other than disease severity play in the increased use of acute health care services. Indian patients were 32 percent more likely than their Chinese counterparts to have unscheduled doctor visits, close to 50 percent more likely to be hospitalized for uncontrolled asthma and 61 percent more likely to visit the emergency room. Malay patients too had an increased risk of unscheduled doctor visits and emergency room trips.

Patients who did not adhere with follow-up appointments were more likely to have unscheduled doctor visits, emergency room visits and hospitalizations, the study found. People with poor inhaler techniques were more likely to visit the emergency room and smokers were more likely to make unscheduled doctor visits.

"These represent high-risk groups for targeted intervention and potentially modifiable elements of asthma intervention and care for improving outcomes," the researchers conclude.

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