Children and adolescents with anxiety and depression have higher rates of asthma-related emergency department (ED) visits, according to a study published online yesterday in Pediatrics.

Researchers analyzed data from 65,342 pediatric patients with asthma who were included in the Massachusetts All-Payer Claims Database and found that nearly one quarter (24.7%) had an additional diagnosis of anxiety (11.2%), depression (5.8%), or both (7.7%).

Moreover, patients with comorbid depression and anxiety were twice as likely to visit the ED for an asthma-related emergency compared with children who had asthma but no mental health diagnosis.

“Part of the reason we focused on ED visits,” said lead author Naomi Bardach, “is because that’s a sign that somebody’s asthma is out of control…It’s a sign that we could do something better for this kid.”


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