Calculating the cost of childhood asthma

Date posted: 
Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Asthma is the most common chronic childhood disease in Canada, affecting 10% of the nation’s children. Preschoolers suffer higher asthma morbidity than all other age groups, with higher rates of emergency department visits and hospital admissions compared to older members of the population.  As a result the economic burden of poor asthma control in children is huge.

“Accumulating evidence suggests that the seeds of chronic airway dysfunction in adulthood are sown in early life,” says Dr. Francine Ducharme, Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Montreal. “There appears to be two windows of susceptibility during which airway injury can result in persistent airways dysfunction affecting lung growth.”

The first window of susceptibility is during pregnancy. Women with severe and uncontrolled asthma during pregnancy are 27% more likely to give birth to a child diagnosed with asthma prior to 12 years of age than healthy mothers.

The second window is in the first few years of life. Birth cohorts in the US and Belgium have shown that preschoolers with asthma symptoms exhibit permanent deficits in lung function at six years. According to Dr. Sadatsafavi (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of British Columbia) who leads the BC component of this research, these deficits are established by six years or earlier, suggesting early airway remodeling and irreversible long-term impact on lung growth and function.

Data access has been approved for a study led by Dr. Ducharme, Dr Sadatsafavi and colleagues across Canada to evaluate the long-term impact of asthma control and use of controller medication in preschoolers with a new diagnosis of asthma.

The study will also compare the disease evolution of the offspring of pregnant mothers with asthma who are poorly controlled during pregnancy, with those who are adequately controlled.

The research study is part of the peer-reviewed funding competition sponsored by the Canadian Respiratory Research Network (CRRN) Pharmaco-Epidemiology Research Platform. The CRRN is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), with partnership from industry and national and provincial Lung Associations.

PopData will link BC Ministry of Health and BC Vital Statistics data with data from Perinatal Services BC for the project.

Page last revised: May 30, 2017