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The age-related characteristics of adults with asthma who visited emergency departments in Korea from 2007 to 2012

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Understanding the patterns of emergency department (ED) visits of patients with asthma is important for disease control and prevention of exacerbations.


This study aimed to investigate the characteristics of adult patients who visited EDs because of their asthma.


Patients with asthma, ages ≥19 years old, who visited 117 EDs throughout Korea between January 2007 and December 2012 were identified in the National Emergency Department Information System (NEDIS) data base using the International Classification of Disease, 10th revision, codes J45 (asthma) and J46 (status asthmaticus).


A total of 97,835 adult patients with asthma visited 117 EDs throughout Korea during the study period. There was a slight female preponderance (male-to-female ratio, 1:1.09). The number of patients aged 70‐79-years-old was 28,031 (28.7%), the highest among the patients with asthma. ED visits showed a seasonal distribution, with most occurring in winter and spring, followed by autumn. The seasonal distribution varied by age; most patients ages 19‐49 years presented in autumn (September), whereas those patients ages ≥50 years presented to the ED most often in winter. Overall, 65.5% of patients were admitted to the hospital, including 12.6% admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU). Overall, 209 patients (0.2%) died. The rates of hospital admission to general wards and ICUs were highest in those patients ≥70 years old; this group also had the highest mortality rate.


In this nationwide study, which spanned 6 years, of adult patients with asthma, we observed an age-specific seasonal pattern of ED visits. Identifying the causes of age-related deterioration and seasonal visits to the ED will help prevent asthma symptoms and reduce medical costs.

Keywords: Adult; age distribution; asthma; asthma death; emergency medical service; environment; information system; risk factors; seasonal variation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: From the Department of Pediatrics, Incheon Medical Center, Incheon, Korea 2: Division of Chronic Disease Surveillance, Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cheongju, Korea 3: Department of Pediatrics, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea 4: Medical Record Team, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea 5: Hallym Research Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea 6: Department of Internal Medicine, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea 7: Department of Pediatrics, Chungnam National University School of Medicine, Daejeon, Korea

Publication date: March 1, 2018

This article was made available online on November 28, 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "The age-related characteristics of adults with asthma who visited emergency departments in Korea from 2007 to 2012".

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  • Allergy and Asthma Proceedings is a peer reviewed publication dedicated to distributing timely scientific research regarding advancements in the knowledge and practice of allergy, asthma and immunology. Its primary readership consists of allergists and pulmonologists.

    The goal of the Proceedings is to publish articles with a predominantly clinical focus which directly impact quality of care for patients with allergic disease and asthma and by having the potential to directly impact the quality of patient care. AAP welcomes the submission of original works including peer-reviewed original research and clinical trial results. Additionally, as the official journal of the Eastern Allergy Conference (EAC), AAP will publish content from EAC poster sessions as well as review articles derived from EAC lectures.

    Featured topics include asthma, rhinitis, sinusitis, food allergies, allergic skin diseases, diagnostic techniques, allergens, and treatment modalities. Published material includes peer-reviewed original research, clinical trials and review articles.

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    The journal is indexed in Thomson Reuters Web of Science and Science Citation Index Expanded, plus the National Library of Medicine's PubMed service.
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