Poorly controlled asthma doubles costs
Asthma in children that is poorly controlled more than doubles the cost of treating it and hurts their school performance, U.S. researchers say.
Dr. Stanley Szefler, a professor of pediatrics at National Jewish Health who led the study, and colleagues studied 628 children ages 6-12 with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma.
The researchers evaluated direct medical costs -- medications, unscheduled office and emergency visits, and hospital admissions -- and indirect costs such as school days lost.
Costs were evaluated at baseline, 12 months and 24 months. Patients were divided into three groups -- very poorly controlled, not well-controlled and well-controlled asthma, using National Institute of Health guidelines.
Very poorly controlled asthma patients incurred at baseline an average of $7,846 in costs associated with asthma, compared with $3,526 for not well controlled asthma patients and $3,766 for well-controlled asthma.
Two years later, costs for very poorly controlled asthma patients increased to $8,880 while costs for those with well-controlled asthma dropped to $1,861. All costs are in 2002 dollars and costs in 2011 dollars would be about 25 percent greater, the researchers say.
The study, published in The Archives of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, finds children with very poorly controlled asthma finds missed an average of 18 days of school each year, compared with two or less for other asthma patients.