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Rates of asthma exacerbations and mortality and associated factors in Uganda: a 2-year prospective cohort study


Data on asthma treatment outcomes in Africa are limited. 449 patients with asthma (age 5–93 years) in Uganda were followed up for 2 years to determine rates of exacerbations and mortality and associated factors. During follow-up the median number of exacerbations per patient was 1 (IQR 0–5) and 17 patients died (3.7%, 27.3 deaths per 1000 person years). Considering only the first year of follow-up, 59.6% of the patients experienced at least one exacerbation, 32.4% experienced three or more exacerbations. A multivariable model showed that the likelihood of experiencing at least one exacerbation in the first year of follow-up was lower with better baseline asthma control (higher asthma control test (ACT) score), with OR 0.87 (95% CI: 0.82 to 0.93, P=0.000), and was higher with more exacerbations in the year prior to enrolment (OR for log number of exacerbations 1.28, 95% CI: 1.04 to 1.57, P=0.018). Better asthma control (OR 0.93, 95% CI: 0.88 to 0.99, P=0.021) and number of baseline exacerbations (OR 1.35,95% CI: 1.11 to 1.66, P=0.005) were also the only factors that were independently associated with experiencing three or more exacerbations during the first year of follow-up. The only factor found to be associated with all-cause mortality was FEV1, with higher recent FEV1 associated with lower all-cause mortality (OR 0.30, 95% CI: 0.14 to 0.65; P=0.002). Rates of asthma exacerbations and mortality are high in Uganda and are associated with poor asthma control. Health systems should be strengthened to care for asthma patients.

  • asthma
  • asthma epidemiology

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