Childhood deaths attributable to asthma may be more prevalent now than in previous years. A communication in a recent issue of the American Journal Of Diseases of Children1 reviews deaths from asthma at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles between 1937 and 1963. Most of the patients were admitted in a moribund state. The investigators found a marked increase in asthma mortality as well as in the asthma death rate within the hospital in the last ten years of the study. Paradoxically, this is the period in which steroids and antibiotics became widely available and most of the patients in this study received them.
It is not surprising that infection was the most important contributory factor in the deaths of these children. Why these deaths predominated since the advent and in spite of the administration of antibiotics is difficult to explain. Emergence of resistant organisms following the indiscriminate administration
ASTHMATIC DEATHS IN CHILDREN. JAMA. 1965;193(8):678. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090080040010