Better Asthma Outcomes with Allergist Instead of Generalist

NOVEMBER 05, 2015
Caitlyn Fitzpatrick
Why are so many children with asthma making trips to the emergency room (ER)? It could be due, at least in part, to what kind of physician is treating their condition to begin with.

It’s been previously documented that asthma can be controlled properly by an allergist when the condition is caught early. Patients typically have less asthma attacks that require less ‘quick relief’ rescue medications. The problem, however, is that many don’t know that allergist can treat asthma. It’s predicted that the average amount of ER visits per child will jump nearly three times in the future. Chitra Dinakar, MD, will discuss the study at the 2015 American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Annual Scientific Meeting (ACAAI 2015) in San Antonio, Texas.

The researchers analyzed the records of more than 10,000 children who had been seen for asthma within the past three years.

“The historical count of acute care visits was predictive of future acute care visits,” one of the authors Jill Hanson, MD, an allergists, said in a news release. “And a significant increase in the probability of future acute care visits was observed with each additional historical visit.”

According to the analysis, the probability of future acute care visits increased from 30% with one historical visit to 87% with more than five visits.

“While the number of patients with five or more historical visits was relatively small, this group of patients accounted for a disproportionate number of future acute care visits,” Hanson clarified.

Patients who receive care from an allergist, as opposed to a generalist, are less likely to end up in the ER with an asthma attack. They also experience less physical restrictions and improved function.

“Our goal is to control asthma well before the child is unable to breathe and needs to be rushed to the emergency department. We do that with individualized therapies and use of asthma action plans which help asthma sufferers recognize when they need help,” Dinakar concluded.

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