Risk factors for asthma exacerbation in patients presenting to an emergency unit of a national referral hospital in Kampala, Uganda.
Background: Asthma exacerbations are caused by a variety of risk factors. Reducing exposure to these risk factors improves the control of asthma and reduces medication needs. Knowledge of the particular risk factors is essential in formulating controlling and treatment protocols. This study set out to determine the risk factors for asthma exacerbations in patients presenting to the emergency unit of Mulago Hospital.
Methods: An unmatched case-control study involving 43 cases and 43 controls was conducted from November 2011 through February 2012. Asthma patients with exacerbations presenting to Mulago hospital’s emergency unit were chosen as cases. The controls were asthma patients recruited from the hospital’s outpatient department who had not had an exacerbation in the past 7 days. The study variables were age, sex, level of education, adherence to treatment, exercise, upper respiratory tract infections, household pets, smoking, strong emotions, exposure to in house wood or charcoal burning, weather, use of corticosteroids, beta-blockers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Univariate and multivariate statistical analysis was done using SPSS version 16 to identify independent risk factors for exacerbations.
Results: Lack of corticosteroid use (OR =22.109; 95% Confidence interval 6.952 to 70.315; p<0.001) and presence of upper respiratory tract infections (OR 4.516; CI 1.258-16.213; p=0.018) were significantly associated with exacerbations.
Conclusion: Lack of corticosteroid use and upper respiratory tract infections are associated with exacerbations in asthma patients presenting to the Emergency unit of Mulago Hospital
Key words: Asthma, asthma exacerbations, risk factors, corticosteroids