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JAMA. 1990 Oct 3;264(13):1688-92.

Changing patterns of asthma hospitalization among children: 1979 to 1987.

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Division of Health Examination Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control, Hyattsville, MD 20782.


The National Hospital Discharge Survey was used to evaluate the trends in asthma hospitalizations among children under International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM): 1979 to 1987. During this period, asthma hospitalizations among children aged 0 to 17 years increased 4.5% per annum (95% confidence interval [Cl], 2% to 7.1%). The increase was largest among 0 to 4 year olds, 5.0% per annum (95% Cl, 3.4% to 6.7%), vs 2.9% per annum (95% Cl, -0.3% to 6.2%) observed among 5 to 17 year olds. Among children aged 0 to 4 years, blacks had approximately 1.8 times the increase of whites. During this time, total hospitalizations decreased -4.6% (95% Cl, -6.6% to -2.5%), while admissions for lower respiratory tract disease had a statistically insignificant decrease: -1.3%. Acute and chronic/unspecified bronchitis hospitalizations decreased -6.1% (95% Cl, -9.4% to -2.7%), but this decrease did not begin until 1983. Thus, a shift in coding from bronchitis to asthma does not seem to fully explain the increase.

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