Asthma is the most common chronic childhood condition affecting 6.3 million (US) children aged less than 18 years. Home-based, multi-component, environmental intervention studies among children with asthma have demonstrated to be effective in reducing asthma symptoms. In this study, a local hospital and university developed an environmental intervention research pilot project, Eastern Carolina Asthma Prevention Program (ECAPP), to evaluate self-reported asthma symptoms, breathing measurements, and number of asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits among low-income, minority children with asthma living in rural, eastern North Carolina. Our goal was to develop a conceptual model and demonstrate any asthma respiratory improvements in children associated with our home-based, environmental intervention.
This project used a single cohort, intervention design approach to compare self-reported asthma-related symptoms, breathing tests, and ED visits over a 6 month period between children with asthma in an intervention study group (n = 12) and children with asthma in a control study group (n = 7). The intervention study group received intense asthma education, three home visits, 2 week follow-up telephone calls, and environmental intervention products for reducing asthma triggers in the home. The control group received education at baseline and 2 week calls, but no intervention products.
At the end of the study period, significant improvements were observed in the intervention group compared with the control group. Overall, the intervention group experienced a 58% (46 ± SD 26.9) reduction in self-reported asthma symptoms; 76% (34 ± SD 29.7) decrease in rescue medicine; 12% (145 ± SD 11.3) increase in controller medicine; 37% decrease in mean exhaled nitric oxide levels and 33% fewer ED asthma-related visits.
As demonstrated, a combination of efforts appeared effective for improving asthma respiratory symptoms among children in the intervention group. ECAPP is a low cost pilot project that could readily be adapted and expanded into other communities throughout eastern North Carolina. Future efforts could include enhanced partnerships between environmental health professionals at local health departments and pediatric asthma programs at hospitals to carry out ECAPP.||en_US