Pediatric thalassemic patients have higher incidence of asthma: A nationwide population-based retrospective cohort study

Hsin Yi Hsieh, Lin Chi Huang, Hong Ren Yu, Kuang Che Kuo, Wan Hsuan Chen, Chung Hao Su, Chuan Pin Lee, Ko Jung Chen, Yao Hsu Yang, Jiunn Ming Sheen

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3 Scopus citations


Introduction Patients with hemoglobinopathies have been reported to have higher rates of pulmonary complications. Few studies have investigated the association between thalassemia and asthma in children. Methods We used the data of one million individuals randomly selected from the Registry for Beneficiaries of the National Health Insurance Research Database. One thalassemic child was matched with four control children without thalassemia according to sex, birth year, birth season, prematurity, and previous enteroviral infection. Results A total of 800 hundred thalassemic children and 3200 controls were included. Children with thalassemia had higher rates of developing asthma (41.81 vs 25.70 per 1000 person-years, P < 0.001) than the non-thalassemia controls with an adjusted hazard ratio of 1.37 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.19–1.58). Boys in the thalassemia cohort had a significantly higher adjusted incidence hazard ratio (IRR) of asthma than those in the non-thalassemia cohort (adjusted IRR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.02–1.73). The risk of atopic and nonatopic asthma was higher in the thalassemia cohort than in the non-thalassemia cohort (IRR = 1.3, 1.61, respectively). Conclusions Children with thalassemia were more likely to develop asthma. More attention should be paid to the early diagnosis of asthma and prevention of asthma attacks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0258727
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number11 November
StatePublished - 11 2021

Bibliographical note

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Copyright: © 2021 Hsieh et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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