Risk factors associated with severe asthma exacerbations in children attending Alexandria University Children’s Hospital, Egypt

Ihab H. El Sawy, Reham M. Wagdy, Afaf G. Ibrahim, Suzy W. Ibrahim


Background: Severe asthma exacerbation is one of the common pediatric medical emergencies that necessitates hospital visits. The study aimed to identify risk factors associated with pediatric severe asthma exacerbations that might have the potential to guide the parents for early medical consultations and physicians at primary health care centers for proper management.

Methods: A case-control study was conducted on over 100 asthmatic children below 12 years attending the Emergency Department of Alexandria University Children’s Hospital in acute exacerbation. Based on a modified pulmonary index score, the patients were allocated into 2 groups; study group (50 patients with severe asthma exacerbation) and control group (50 patients with mild asthma exacerbations). Demographic data, history of illness, alarming clinical signs, medications, and outcome of all participants were recorded.

Results: Severe asthma exacerbations were more encountered among males, older age, and with a longer duration of asthma (X±SD=28.4±15.9 months) with significant differences when compared to controls. Comparing the studied groups revealed higher risk for severe asthma exacerbations mainly with; history of sudden onset of severe respiratory distress (Odds ratio “OR”=30.13, 95% CI, 13.78-66.69) and chronic steroid-dependent asthma (OR=14.46, 95% CI, 3.97-52.65). Cyanosis, lethargy, and inability to talk were alarming signs in patients with severe asthma exacerbation when compared to those with mild asthma exacerbation (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Severe asthma exacerbation in children is still associated with many risk factors that may alert the patients’ caregivers and physicians prospectively for early proper management. 


Childhood asthma, Severe exacerbation, Pulmonary index scoring, Hypoxia, Silent chest

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