Abstract

Background.The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is the major pandemic of the 21st century, causing millions of deaths around the world. Asthma was reported as a risk factor for severe disease. However, data about the impact of COVID-19 on childhood asthma is lacking in Africa, including Algeria. Aims. To show trends in hospital admissions of asthmatic children before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and investigate its impact on these hospitalizations. Methods. A retrospective study was conducted using the medical records of asthmatic children admitted to the pediatric unit of the university hospital of Tizi-Ouzou city from January 2018 to October 2022. Chi Square and t-tests were used to compare proportions and means between groups, respectively. Results. Of the 300 hospitalized patients, 288 were included. Most patients were boys (61.1%), and the mean age was 4.493.02 years. COVID-19 prevalence was high (43.2%) and was independent of sex (p=0.87) and age (p=0.45). However, sex distribution seems to be seasonal before the pandemic (p=0.008) but not during the pandemic (p=0.46), and age distribution was seasonal during the pandemic (p=0.034) but not before (p=0.33). No death or ICU admission was reported. There were no differences in major symptoms (dyspnea, cough, and wheezing) except for chest indrawing, which had greater clinical importance in patients with COVID-19 (p=0.039). Interestingly, hospital stay was two-fold higher during the COVID-19 pandemic (p=0.0001). Conclusion. Hospital admission and stay were significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. More data may provide a better understanding of this impact and improve pediatric care and disease management.