Over the 16-year period from August 1969 to August 1985, 15 children aged 9 to 19 years, well-known to physicians in the Allergy Section of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia died unexpectedly of asthma outside the hospital. There were no deaths in hospitalized asthmatics during this time. Over half the deaths occurred since 1979, the same period in which significant increases in asthma deaths and hospitalizations were noted nationwide. The 15 children all had certain features in common and then subdivided into three subgroups. From analysis of the data five maxims for management of high-risk, chronic asthmatics were developed.
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