Asthma mortality rates vary across England

  • Thorax

  • from Dawn O'Shea
  • UK Medical News
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The UK-wide National Review of Asthma Deaths has found that asthma outcomes still vary widely across England and appear to be influenced by region and affluence.

The study, published in Thorax, reports that there were 14,830 recorded asthma deaths in England between 2002 and 2015, including 255 in children aged 5-14 years. However, there was an average 5% (95% CI, 1%-9%) fall in age-sex-adjusted incidence rate ratios for asthma mortality in the youngest age group from the least deprived to the most deprived areas.

Analysis of the results showed that asthma mortality fell among more in deprived groups at younger ages. Among those aged 5 to 44 years, people in the most deprived areas had a 19% lower mortality rate than people in the most affluent areas. Among those aged 45 to 75 years, this pattern was reversed, with people in the poorest areas having a 37% higher asthma mortality rate than people in the richest areas. People older than 75 years in the most deprived regions had a 30% higher mortality rate than people in the most affluent areas.

There were significant regional variations in both mortality and admission rates, with the highest mortality rates seen in the West Midlands. The highest emergency admission rates occurred in the North West.

The authors concluded: "Despite asthma mortality, emergency admissions and prevalence decreasing over recent decades, England still experiences significant socio-economic status and regional variations.”

They add that the previously undocumented inverse association between deprivation and mortality in the young requires further investigation.