Childhood Asthma-Pattern, Severity and Control Among Children Seen in an Outpatient Respiratory Clinic in River State University Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Author(s): Onubogu UC, West BA
Background: Asthma, the commonest respiratory disorder globally is often a cause of emergency room visits, school and work absenteeism thus affects the quality of life of children and their caregivers.
Objective: To assess the pattern of asthma severity and level of control among children attending the respiratory clinic in Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.
Methods: It was a hospital based cross-sectional study carried out at the Paediatric respiratory clinic in the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria over a 6-year period.
Results: Of 307 patients recruited into the study, males predominated with a M: F ratio of 1.47:1. There was family history of atopy in 195 (63.5%) and cough was the commonest symptom reported 234 (96.3%). Median age at first diagnosis was 4(IQR:2-8) years and mean duration of illness, 1(IQR:0.2-3) year. Majority had intermittent asthma 92 (37.9%) while only 55 (29.6%) had controlled asthma. Malnutrition, living in households with domestic fuel being kerosene or firewood only were significantly associated with having severe persistent asthma while living in households in which gas is the primary source of domestic fuel, upper socioeconomic class and duration of illness being ≤ 2 years were significantly associated with not having severe persistent asthma. Overweight was significantly associated with having controlled asthma while age <11 years and physician-diagnosed asthma at ≤ 2yrs of age were significantly associated with not having controlled asthma.
Conclusion: Use of clean domestic fuel and reduction of the effects of deprivation of social and economic determinants of health among the low socioeconomic class can improve control and reduce severity of asthma in children.