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Paediatrics and Child Health (Canada) ; 26(SUPPL 1):e88, 2021.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-1584135


BACKGROUND: Asthma in children and adolescents is a major cause of urgent visits and hospitalizations. In preschoolers, viral infections remain the main cause of these exacerbations, although environmental factors may also play a role. In older children and adolescents, many other risk factors are present including respiratory allergies, exercise, strong emotions, active and passive smoking and poor adherence to recommended treatments. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, clinicians have been concerned about the possibility of a significant increase in urgent consultations for asthma in children. However, due to the confinement imposed on a large part of the population from March 2020, we have suspected a reduction in the number of viral infections leading to urgent visits and hospitalizations in pediatric patients. OBJECTIVES: Our hypothesis was that the number of children hospitalized with asthma exacerbations during the pandemic lockdown declined significantly. Our objective was to determine if the number and severity of hospitalizations at the CME of the CHU de Québec for asthma exacerbations in children aged 1 to 17 had significantly decreased during the confinement period from April 1 to July 1, 2020 and to what extent, according to various clinical features. DESIGN/METHODS: Retrospective study reviewing episodes of care in medical records in children aged 1 to 17 and hospitalized on all wards at the CME-CHU de Québec. All patients with primary diagnosis of asthmatic exacerbation according to the summary sheets between April 1 to July 1, 2020 for the study group and from April 1 to July 1, 2019 for the control group were included. We aimed to determine the number of hospitalizations for this diagnosis for each period and determine the length of stay on the various pediatric wards for each episode of care according to the established criteria. We have determined the presence of risk factors (asthma diagnosis, underlying condition, regular asthma medication, allergies, and other factors relevant to asthma).We have further determined the presence of gravity markers during the course of hospitalization (need for: IV corticosteroids, Mg sulfate, IV bronchodilators, non-invasive ventilation, intubation, ICU stay and radiological pneumonia) for each episode of care. The data was denominated and collated in an encoded file, and shareable only between the investigators. RESULTS: After exclusions, a total of 97 charts were analyzed. Between April 1 and July 1 2019, a total of 89 patients were admitted with a diagnosis of asthma exacerbation while only eight patients were admitted during the same period in 2020. The median age of patients admitted in 2020 was higher than in 2019 (53 vs 25 months). In 2019, 40 children (48%) had a previous diagnosis of asthma, of whom 28 used regular controller medications compared to 2 children (25%) in 2020, both taking regular controller medications. More patients had an associated diagnosis of upper respiratory tract infection in 2019 than in 2020 (92% vs 63%). Nine patients required intensive care in 2019 compared to none in 2020. CONCLUSION: Compared to 2019, hospital admissions for asthma exacerbations in our tertiary care centre in Quebec City were significantly lower during the early phase of the 2020 pandemic. More research is required to determine the exact causes of this significant reduction.