Association between Health Care Utilization with Asthma Control Levels among a Sample of Adult Patients in Puerto Rico

Heriberto A. Marín-Centeno, Gilberto Ramos-Valencia, Mario Rodríguez-Sánchez, Jesús González-Gavillán, Elba C. Díaz-Toro, Mariela Torres-Cintrón


Objective: Asthma is an important and serious public health problem in Puerto Rico; however, very few studies measuring the association between health care utilization and asthma control levels in adult asthma patients in Puerto Rico have been done. Methods: This study is secondary analysis of an observational and cross-sectional database generated by the Latin American Asthma Insights and Management (LA AIM) survey. Our sub-sample consisted of adults 18 years or older living with asthma, representing a total of 343 individuals. This study determined the numbers of ambulatory physician visits, emergency visits to a physician or an emergency room, and hospitalizations that took place the 12 months prior to the survey. Patients were characterized as having well-controlled, partly controlled, or uncontrolled asthma. Descriptive and inferential statistics were performed to detect differences in the mean and number of events for physician visits, emergency visits, and hospitalizations by asthma control groups. Results: After adjusting for age, sex, and chronic health conditions (other than asthma), adult asthma patients with controlled asthma had 92.0% fewer physician visits, 82.5% fewer emergency visits, and 92.2% fewer hospitalizations than did those with uncontrolled asthma. Conclusion: Interventions geared toward controlling asthma symptoms and clinical manifestations in adults asthma patients—which interventions might include strategies for controlling environmental risk factors, increasing patient and family education with regard to asthma management, and boosting the use of appropriate and effective medications—may have significant potential in terms of reducing the direct and indirect costs of asthma, costs that have a critical impact on the whole health care system.


: asthma adult patients, controlled asthma, uncontrolled asthma, emergency room use, hospitalizations

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