Konstantinoudis G, Minelli C, Lam HCY, Fuertes E, Ballester J, Davies B, Vicedo-Cabrera AM, Gasparrini A, Blangiardo M. Asthma hospitalisations and heat exposure in England: a case-crossover study during 2002-2019. Thorax. 2023 Sep;78(9):875-881. doi: 10.1136/thorax-2022-219901. Open Access.
Background Previous studies have reported an association between warm temperature and asthma hospitalisation. They have reported different sex-related and age-related vulnerabilities; nevertheless, little is known about how this effect has changed over time and how it varies in space. This study aims to evaluate the association between asthma hospitalisation and warm temperature and investigate vulnerabilities by age, sex, time and space.
Methods We retrieved individual-level data on summer asthma hospitalisation at high temporal (daily) and spatial (postcodes) resolutions during 2002–2019 in England from the NHS Digital. Daily mean temperature at 1 km×1 km resolution was retrieved from the UK Met Office. We focused on lag 0–3 days. We employed a case–crossover study design and fitted Bayesian hierarchical Poisson models accounting for possible confounders (rainfall, relative humidity, wind speed and national holidays).
Results After accounting for confounding, we found an increase of 1.11% (95% credible interval: 0.88% to 1.34%) in the asthma hospitalisation risk for every 1°C increase in the ambient summer temperature. The effect was highest for males aged 16–64 (2.10%, 1.59% to 2.61%) and during the early years of our analysis. We also found evidence of a decreasing linear trend of the effect over time. Populations in Yorkshire and the Humber and East and West Midlands were the most vulnerable.
Conclusion This study provides evidence of an association between warm temperature and hospital admission for asthma. The effect has decreased over time with potential explanations including temporal differences in patterns of heat exposure, adaptive mechanisms, asthma management, lifestyle, comorbidities and occupation.