Comparison of asthma control before and during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic
in children 3-18 years of age presenting to the pediatric pulmonary
clinic at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center
OBJECTIVE: To determine asthma control during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in
a minority pediatric population at a community hospital. BACKGROUND:
During the pandemic, exposure to allergens and infectious agents has
decreased during the pandemic due to heightened hygiene measures and
primarily virtual visits. We examined the effect of the pandemic on
pediatric asthma control. DESIGN/METHODS: Our study included 104
asthmatic children, 3-18 years of age. The mean age of patients was 9.7
± 3.8. Subjects were assessed during the time period of March-August
2019 and 2020. Outcome variables included: rescue albuterol and systemic
steroid use, physician visits (PMDv), emergency department visits (EDv),
hospitalizations (H) for asthma exacerbation, pulmonology clinic visits,
change in and adherence to controller therapy, spacer technique and BMI.
RESULTS: During the pandemic, the majority of pulmonology clinic visits
were via telemedicine. There was a significant difference in appropriate
spacer technique and change in controller regimen, with improved
technique and decreased requirement for step up controller therapy,
during the pandemic There was no significant difference in BMI,
adherence to controller therapy or the number of pulmonology visits.
Additionally, there was an improvement in asthma control during the
pandemic with less use of rescue albuterol, systemic steroids, H, EDv or
PMDv for acute exacerbation. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, we found that asthma
control has improved during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in terms of: reduced
albuterol and systemic steroid use and decreased asthma exacerbations.
The recent addition of telemedicine to patient care has not negatively
affected asthma control in children.