METHODS: We conducted a large case control study of children (ages 0-12). Cases included children with IgE mediated food allergy and controls consisted of children without food allergy recruited at their well-child visit from the same general pediatrics clinic. A thorough chart review was done to identify and record asthma related ER visit and hospitalization. The data from other ERs and hospitals in the city were retrieved through a city-wise shared electronic medical records system.
RESULTS: We enrolled 492 children with FA and 64 age and gender matched controls. 44% in FA versus 14.1% in non-food allergy series had asthma,p<0.0001. Asthma-related ER visit and hospitalization were similar between asthmatic children with and without FA([56.8 %vs.66.7% for ER] and [29.0%vs.35.6% for hospitalization], in FA and controls respectively). The type of food allergens such as peanut, tree nuts, egg, milk or fish/shellfish was not associated with increased asthma related ER visits or hospitalization.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the increased asthma related health care utilization in children with FA might be due to increased rate of asthma and not the direct effect of food allergy on asthma control. However these results driven from our series at a large university-based clinic might not be applicable to all children with FA.