The features associated with 30 childhood deaths from asthma in the period 1962-83 are reviewed. There was an annual death rate of 0.47/100 000 population at risk in the later part of this period in Avon county. Asthma deaths occurred in chronic severe sufferers at night and, although there was usually time for effective treatment, inadequate management probably contributed to the deaths, with deficiencies in corticosteroid treatment being a major feature. Twelve of the 30 patients who died had never attended hospital. A greater proportion of girls died than would have been predicted from the proportion attending hospital. The survey indicates a need for more effective education of laymen and doctors on asthma.
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