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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1994 Apr;148(4):357-63.

Trends in asthma-related admissions among American Indian and Alaskan native children from 1979 to 1989. Universal health care in the face of poverty.

Author information

Indian Health Service, Office of Health Programs, Research and Development, Tucson, Ariz.



To describe changes in asthma-related hospitalizations in Indian Health Service facilities and compare with national trends.


Trend analysis.


Hospital discharge records of patients aged 17 years and younger treated by the Indian Health Service between 1979 and 1989.


Patients discharged with asthma as the first listed diagnosis.


The rates of asthma-related hospitalizations increased an average of 2.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.1 to 5.2) per year between 1979 and 1989 among American Indian and Alaskan Native children aged 0 to 17 years. The increase was 3.7% among the 0- to 4-year age group (95% CI, 2.0 to 5.5) and 0.3% (95% CI, 0.26 to 0.3) among the 5- to 17-year age group. Boys tended to have a higher rate of increase (4.3% [95% CI, -0.1 to 8.7]) compared with girls (2.6% [95% CI, -0.2 to 5.4]). The rates for any hospitalization decreased during this period for 0- to 4-year-olds (-7.5% [95% CI, -10.5 to -4.5]). Little change was noted in hospitalization rates for lower respiratory tract diseases. Diagnostic transfer from bronchitis/bronchiolitis to asthma could not explain the increase. Both first admission and readmission for treatment of asthma contributed to the increase. Compared with previously published data, 0- to 4-year-old American Indian and Alaskan Native children more closely approximate white children than black children in both rates of hospitalization (1979-1987) and annual percentage increase in hospitalization (1979-1989 for American Indian and Alaskan Native children and 1979-1987 for white and black children) for the treatment of asthma.


American Indian and Alaskan Native children who are cared for by the Indian Health Service have asthma-related hospitalization patterns that are similar to those seen in white children despite having socioeconomic characteristics more similar to those of black children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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