Background: Asthma morbidity, mortality, and health services utilization are highest among inner-city populations. The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Expert Panel recommends that all patients with moderate and severe persistent asthma be evaluated for sensitization to environmental allergens. Objective: This study examined whether a cohort of inner-city adults hospitalized with asthma had been evaluated for allergen sensitization, received avoidance counseling, and followed through on these recommendations. Methods: One hundred sixty-nine eligible patients who were part of a prospective cohort of all adults hospitalized in an inner-city hospital over a consecutive 12-month period completed a questionnaire to assess allergen sensitization evaluation, avoidance education, and adherence. Results: Overall, 60% of patients had ever been evaluated for allergen sensitization. Among those who were evaluated, 94.0% were sensitized to at least one antigen: 91.5% to dust mites, 90.5% to outdoor allergens, 77.9% to cats, 69.5% to dogs, 68.4% to molds, and 61% to cockroaches. Approximately half of the patients sensitized to dust mite (55.1%) or mold (52.8%) were given any avoidance-abatement advice. Patient adherence to this advice was highly variable. Allergen sensitization evaluation was more likely among women (odds ratio, 3.05; CI, 1.64-8.64) and those who use oral steroids most or all of the time (odds ratio, 7.14; CI, 2.25-22.56) and less likely among smokers (odds ratio, 0.26; CI, 0.11-0.61). Conclusion: In this population of inner-city adults hospitalized with asthma, the quality of allergen sensitization evaluation, avoidance education, and patient adherence with these recommendations was suboptimal.
- Allergen evaluation