April 07, 2017
1 min read

Mite-proof bedding may reduce asthma exacerbation in sensitized children

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Bed casings that were impermeable against house dust mites effectively reduced ED visits for asthma exacerbations among mite-sensitized children, according to a recent study.

“Asthma exacerbations are among the most common reasons for hospitalizing children living in the developed world,” Clare S. Murray, MD, from the University of Manchester and the University Hospital of South Manchester said in a press release. “It’s a frightening experience for children and their parents, and a single exacerbation can increase the annual cost of treating asthma by three-fold.”

Clare S. Murray, MD
Clare S. Murray

To assess the impact of mite-impermeable bedding on severe asthma exacerbations among children, the researchers randomly assigned children (n=284) presenting to the ED for asthma exacerbation to either receive mite-impermeable bedding (active) or control bedding (placebo).

When the researchers assessed the patients after 12 months, they determined that:

  • Patients using mite-impermeable bedding were less likely to have a severe asthma exacerbation that resulted in an ED visit or hospital admission compared with the placebo group (29.3% vs. 41.5%).
  • Patients using mite-impermeable bedding exhibited a 45% reduced risk of an asthma exacerbation resulting in an ED visit, hospitalization, or the requirement for systemic corticosteroids.
  • Patients using mite-impermeable bedding experienced a longer duration between using the mite-proof covers and their first exacerbation resulting in an ED visit or hospitalization with the need for systemic corticosteroids.

However, the researchers also observed that the mite-proof covers did not significantly reduce the number of children whose exacerbation was treated outside the ED with an oral corticosteroid.

“As with many treatments for asthma, such as long acting beta-agonists and leukotriene receptor antagonists, it is clear that some individuals respond to the treatment and others do not, but predicting those who will respond is challenging,” Murray and colleagues wrote. “Although our trial was not powered to carry out subgroup analyses, we performed exploratory analyses in an attempt to identify the characteristics of the children who showed the best response; this indicated that younger children, those sensitized only to mite, those with more severe disease — GINA 3+ — and those not exposed to smoking had fewer emergency hospital attendances.” – by Katherine Bortz

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.