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Secondhand smoke exposure increases odds of hospital asthma readmission for children
Date:1/19/2014

A new study shows that exposure to secondhand smoke at home or in the car dramatically increases the odds of children being readmitted to the hospital within a year of being admitted for asthma.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, raises the possibility that measurement of tobacco exposure could be used in clinical practice to target smoking cessation efforts and reduce the likelihood of future hospitalizations.

To determine tobacco exposure, the researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Children's Hospital measured cotinine in the blood and in saliva of more than 600 children. Cotinine is a substance produced when the body breaks down nicotine and provides a scientific assessment of tobacco exposure.

"The ability to measure serum and salivary cotinine levels presents the possibility of an objective measure that can be obtained when a child is seen in the emergency department or in the hospital and may be used to predict future hospitalizations," says Robert Kahn, MD, MPH, associate director of general and community pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's and senior author of the study.

"Such a measure for exposure to tobacco smoke could be used to target specific interventions at caregivers of those children before discharge from the hospital. Several interventions, including parental counseling and contact with the primary care physician, could be adopted in clinical practice."

The study is part of the Greater Cincinnati Asthma Risks Study, which seeks to understand the causes of hospital readmission, particularly for low income and minority children. The researchers studied children between the ages of 1 and 16 admitted to Cincinnati Children's between August 2010 and October 2011. Serum and salivary cotinine levels were taken during their hospital stay, and their primary caregivers were asked about tobacco exposure. All children were followed
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Contact: Jim Feuer
jim.feuer@cchmc.org
513-636-4656
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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