December 97 Tipsheet from ATS


For Immediate Release:
Contact: Chris Shepherd
212 315-6440

FALL WEATHER BRINGS INCREASED HOSPITALIZATIONS FOR ASTHMATICS

That was one finding by investigators at a National Climatic Data Center
and the University of Delaware who studied the link between weather
conditions and asthma. Reviewing hospital admissions in New York City from
1982 to 1992, Mr.. Paul Jamason and colleagues isolated "air masses" that
are homogenous in meteorological character and related them to daily counts
of overnight hospital stays for asthma. They found that the coldest and
driest air masses in the fall exhibited a strong relationship with
increased hospitalizations. That type of weather pattern occurred on only
19 percent of the days of fall but accounted for 44 percent of all high
admissions days for asthma. Researchers said it might be possible to
develop an early watch and warning system which could alert public health
officials and asthmatics to the impending arrival of a dangerous air mass.

DUST MITES APPEAR TO BE A DOMINANT RISK FACTOR FOR ASTHMATICS

Researchers at the University of Virginia came to that conclusion after
looking at risk factores which influenced ashtma among 88 symptomatic
children and 123 control sujbects. Among the various risk factors
examined, Dr. Thomas Platt-Mills and colleagues found that only dust mite
sensitization was independently associated with asthma. Dust from 81
percent of the children's homes contained high levels of mite alergen.
Researchers reported that they could not find a significant association
between asthma and race, socioeconomic status, home smoking, or
sensitization to outdoor allergens.

HOSPITALIZATIONS FOR COPD AND ASTHMA PATIENTS DRAMATICALLY INCREASES WITH AGE

This was strongly suggested in a review of 1984 to 1991 data from the
Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA). Case Western Reserve
investigators found that as patients grew older, length of
hospitalizations increased and the discharge rate to an independent living
facility decreased. The use of convalescent and nursing home and health
care after hospital discharge more than doubled during the study period.
They described the impact of these elderly COPD and asthma patients on
health care resources as "immense."

DELERIUM, ACUTE CONFUSION AND MALNUTRITION ARE SEEN AS INDICATORS OF PNEUMONIA IN THE ELDERLY.

Spanish researchers observed this in a study involving of 101 elderly (65
years or older) patients and a comparable control group of the same size
and age. Although pleuritic chest pain is generally regarded as the only
clinical symptom of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), these other three
conditions were much more common in the study group. Diagnosing CAP in the
elderly is relatively more difficult and investigators suggest the presence
of delirium, confusion, and malnutrition may assist in the diagnosis.

For the complete text of these articles or for more information, contact:
Christina Shepherd at 212 315-6440 or fax your request to her at (212)
315-6455.

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