Pattern of Asthma Exacerbation in Children seen at Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Nigeria.
Background: The pattern of presentation of asthma is protean especially during childhood period when a lot of asthma mimics abound. The ability to identify asthma exacerbation in a busy Emergency Room aids appropriate triaging and cost-effective management especially in resource-poor countries.
Objectives: To determine the pattern of asthma exacerbation including peak season of presentation and the common precipitating factors in children at the Emergency Room of Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Nigeria.
Method: A retrospective descriptive study using data of children managed for bronchial asthma at the Emergency Room of Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, Nigeria over a 5 year period.
Results: The proportion of children managed for bronchial asthma was 98/10004 (1%). Out of 98 subjects, 60 (61.2%) were males. Their ages ranged from 1 to 16 years with a median age of 6.5 years and a modal age of 4 years, and with 38/98 (38.8%) being 5 years and younger. The peak period of presentation was in rainy season (72/98 - 73.1%). Cold air was the highest 16/98 (16.3%) identifiable precipitating factor, followed by dust 13/98 (13.2%), while the commonest clinical features were cough 86/98 (87.8%), breathlessness 85/98 (86.7%) and rhonchi 69/98 (70.4%).
Conclusion: The commonest clinical features of asthma exacerbation in children in our environment are similar to those in other climes, and they include cough, breathlessness and
rhonchi. As in other studies around the world, there is a male preponderance. The peak
presentation is in the rainy season, with cold air as the commonest precipitating factor.
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