HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW
HealthStats NSW
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Emergency Department presentations for Asthma like illness

Males, 5-34, 2017-18
338.9Males, 5-34, 2016-17
390.5Males, 5-34, 2015-16
394.9Males, 5-34, 2014-15
361.7Males, 5-34, 2013-14
397.3Males, 5-34, 2012-13
394.8Males, 5-34, 2011-12
406.3Males, 5-34, 2010-11
364.4Males, 5-34, 2009-10
412.2Males, All ages, 2017-18
289.5Males, All ages, 2016-17
330.3Males, All ages, 2015-16
337Males, All ages, 2014-15
336.3Males, All ages, 2013-14
353.2Males, All ages, 2012-13
362.8Males, All ages, 2011-12
367.6Males, All ages, 2010-11
352.3Males, All ages, 2009-10
392.5Females, 5-34, 2017-18
323.8Females, 5-34, 2016-17
384.1Females, 5-34, 2015-16
380.9Females, 5-34, 2014-15
365.5Females, 5-34, 2013-14
379.2Females, 5-34, 2012-13
368.8Females, 5-34, 2011-12
377.3Females, 5-34, 2010-11
339.2Females, 5-34, 2009-10
401.8Females, All ages, 2017-18
293.6Females, All ages, 2016-17
331.5Females, All ages, 2015-16
326.6Females, All ages, 2014-15
330.4Females, All ages, 2013-14
342.6Females, All ages, 2012-13
336Females, All ages, 2011-12
351.9Females, All ages, 2010-11
326.3Females, All ages, 2009-10
  • + Source

    NSW Emergency Department Records for Epidemiology (SAPHaRI). Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health.

  • + Notes

    Asthma like illness includes patients who appear to have asthma symptoms when they present in the emergency department, however some of these patients may have been misdiagnosed and be found to have respiratory infections or Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

    Asthma like illness emergency department (ED) presentations are selected using the following definition:

    • Unplanned ED presentations;

    • By person of all ages;

    To 84 public hospitals that reported continuously and collected reasonably complete diagnosis information since 2009-10;

    • Where the provisional diagnosis was assigned an asthma problem ICD-9, ICD-10 or SNOMED-CT code (as summarised in the Codes tab).

    Presentations to the 84 NSW EDs included in this report accounted for approximately 87% of all NSW ED (planned and unplanned) activity in 2018-19. The data used to produce this report is subject to change from day to day due to data updates at the source ED.

    Data refer to all unplanned presentations to the included EDs regardless of the district or state of residence of the patient. Unplanned presentations include those that were not pre-arranged, with the majority classified as emergency presentations.

    Both the number of presentations and reported rates are under-estimated because not all emergency departments in NSW are included in the analysis. However, the trend over time includes a consistent cohort of hospitals and consistent population denominators and therefore allows for valid trend comparisons over the time. 

    Analyses by Local Health District, Primary Health Network, Local Government Area and remoteness from service centres are not included as the representation of EDs included in the analysis varies by geographic area.

    Rates were age-adjusted using the Australian population as at 30 June 2001. Age adjustment was used for analyses of all ages, but age-specific rates were not age-adjusted. Data refer to all presentations to the included EDs regardless of the district or state of residence of the patient.

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  • + Methods
  • + Codes
    • Codes: Asthma

      Depending on the information system used in the emergency department at a point in time, the diagnosis of acute alcohol problem is recorded according to one of three classification systems: the International Classification of Diseases, 9th revision (ICD-9), the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th revision (ICD-10) or the Systematised Nomenclature of Medicine — Clinical Terms (SNOMED-CT).

      Asthma-related presentations

      DescriptionICD-9 & ICD-9-CMICD-10 & ICD-10-AMSNOMED-CT
      Asthma 493 J45,J46 1945002, 11944003, 12428000, 16862005, 18197001, 19849005, 30352005, 31387002, 41997000, 55570000, 57546000, 57607007, 59327009, 63088003, 67415000, 80374003, 91340006, 92807009, 93432008, 134380003, 134381004, 134383001, 134384007, 135854001, 135855000, 135857008, 135858003, 135859006, 135861002, 135862009, 135863004, 161527007, 162660004, 170631002, 170632009, 170633004, 170634005, 170635006, 170636007, 170638008, 170658009, 195967001, 195968006, 195970002, 195971003, 195972005, 195973000, 195975007, 195976008, 195977004, 195979001, 195980003, 195981004, 195983001, 225057002, 233678006, 233679003, 233680000, 233681001, 233682008, 233683003, 233684009, 233685005, 233686006, 233690008, 241942008, 266361008, 266363006, 266364000, 266365004, 274105009, 278517007, 281239006, 304527002, 312453004, 312454005, 370202007, 370204008, 370205009, 370208006, 370218001, 370219009, 370220003, 370221004, 373899003, 389145006, 389146007, 390798007, 390921001, 394967008, 395022009, 397579009, 400987003, 401193004, 404804003, 404805002, 405720007, 405944004, 407674008, 409663006, 416601004, 418395004, 442025000


      Codes: Presentations to emergency departments in NSW

      Emergency Department coding categoryCode and description

      Unplanned ED presentations

      Emergency department presentation type:

      01 Emergency presentations

      03 Unplanned return visit for a continuing condition

      09 Person in transit

      10 Dead on arrival

      11 Disaster

      13 Current admitted patient


      Mode of separation:

      1   Admitted to ward or inpatient unit, not a critical care ward

      3   Admitted: died in ED

      10 Admitted: to a critical care ward

      11 Admitted: via operating suite

      12 Admitted: transferred to another hospital

      Triage category

      1 Immediately life-threatening condition: need to have treatment immediately or within two minutes

      2 Imminently life-threatening condition: need to have treatment within 10 minutes

      3 Potentially life-threatening condition: need to have treatment within 30 minutes

      4 Imminently serious condition: need to have treatment within one hour

      5 Less urgent condition: need to have treatment within two hours

  • + Related Indicators
  • + Associated Information
    • Key points: Asthma

      Latest available information

      Latest available data for adults in NSW

        • 11.5% of adults aged 16 years and over (8.4% of men and 14.4% of women) had asthma, as estimated from the 2019 NSW Adult Population Health Survey (self reported using a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview or CATI).

        • Asthma was responsible for 165 deaths in 2017 and around 11,290 hospitalisations in 2018-19.

      Latest available data for children in NSW

        • In 2018-2019, 20.6% of children aged 2-15 years (24.1% of boys and 16.8% of girls) ever had asthma, as estimated from the NSW Population Health Survey.

      Latest available data for adult Aboriginal persons in NSW

        • 14.2% of adult Aboriginal persons aged 16 years and over had asthma, as estimated from the 2018 NSW Adult Population Health Survey (self reported using a Computer Assisted Telephone Interview or CATI).

      Overall trends in NSW

      Self-reported data on asthma have been collected for adults in NSW since 1997 through the NSW Population Health Survey and parent-reported data on asthma have been collected for children in NSW since 2001 through the NSW Population Health Survey.

      Prevalence estimates, although differing slightly between surveys because of different sampling frames, participation rates and modes of collection (telephone versus face-to-face personal interview) have not changed over time.


      Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence, NSW Ministry of Health. NSW Population Health Survey. Available at:

      Australian Bureau of Statistics, National Health Survey: First Results (4364.0.55.001); NSW Table, 2017-2018. Available at:

    • Introduction: Respiratory disease

      Respiratory diseases

      Respiratory diseases include acute diseases such as influenza and pneumonia, and chronic respiratory diseases (specifically asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asbestosis, and respiratory tuberculosis), where preventive measures and better management of conditions can reduce the burden of disease and reduce associated healthcare costs.

      Chronic respiratory diseases were responsible for 7.5% of the total burden of disease and injury in Australia in 2015, with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma accounting for 51.4% and 33.8% of this burden, respectively (AIHW 2019).

      Influenza and pneumonia

      Influenza and pneumonia are acute respiratory diseases that can be very severe and, in persons at high risk, can lead to death. Influenza and pneumonia cause around 2.5% of all deaths and around 0.9% of hospital separations and are an important cause of hospitalisations in the very young, and of death and hospitalisations among older age groups.


      Asthma is a significant public health problem in Australia and it is estimated that Australian prevalence rates are among the highest in the world. Fortunately, recent studies in children show no further increase in prevalence. In Australia in 2015, asthma was estimated to account for 2.5% of the disease burden (AIHW 2019).

      Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

      Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the two main conditions comprising chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In Australia in 2015, COPD was estimated to account for 3.9% of the disease burden (AIHW 2019).


      Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the bacterial organism Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Despite the increasing burden from respiratory tuberculosis globally, it is not a major public health problem in NSW. In fact the mortality and morbidity from all types of tuberculosis in NSW is one of the lowest in the world.

      Lung cancer

      Lung cancer is usually excluded from analyses of respiratory diseases as it is classified with cancers in the International Classification of Diseases (the coding system used for health data in NSW). It has been included with respiratory diseases here to provide a more appropriate measure of the burden of respiratory disease from a clinical and health services planning perspective.

      Risk factors

      Cigarette smoking is the main risk factor for both COPD and lung cancer and the current incidence rates of these conditions reflect smoking rates 20 years and more in the past. Lung cancer is one of the leading causes of death in Australia.


      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2019. Australian Burden of Disease Study: Impact and causes of illness and death in Australia 2015. Australian Burden of Disease Study series no. 19. BOD 22. Canberra: AIHW. Available at:

    • Interventions: Respiratory diseases


      Written asthma management plans are recommended as part of the national guidelines for the management of asthma: Australian Asthma Handbook (NACA 2015). They enable people with asthma to recognise a deterioration in their condition and initiate appropriate treatment, thereby reducing the severity of acute episodes.

      The Australian Asthma Handbook promotes preventive care activities, proper inhaler technique and adherence and stepped medical management where the use of medicines can be increased or decreased depending on circumstances and the therapy combinations.


      Australia is fortunate in having one of the lowest rates of TB in the world. This has been primarily achieved as a result of a continued commitment to provide specialised health services dedicated to the prevention and control of TB in each of the states and territories. The National TB Advisory Committee’s Strategic Plan for the Control of Tuberculosis, 2011-2015 sets out the goals and objectives of TB control in Australia.

      Despite Australia’s success in reducing TB, there is no room for complacency. Global connectivity through air travel and migration means that TB will remain a public health concern in Australia until worldwide control of TB is achieved. The NSW TB Program is the provider of specialised services for the prevention and control of TB in NSW and plays a vital role in maintaining Australia’s success in reducing the burden of TB.

      Influenza and pneumonia

      Influenza and pneumococcal disease are covered by the National Immunisation Programs in NSW.

      Influenza has been a notifiable disease by all laboratories under the Public Health Act in NSW since 2001. Surveillance is enhanced in winter months when the NSW Ministry of Health collects and reports weekly on influenza-like illness presentations to Emergency Departments, through the Public Health Rapid, Emergency, Disease and Syndromic Surveillance System (PHREDSS), and laboratory-confirmed diagnoses of influenza virus infections.

      Emergency Departments in NSW are prepared for influenza epidemics with peak visit plans and similar measures in winter months.


      National Asthma Council Australia. Australian Asthma Handbook. NACA, 2015. Available at:

    • For more information: Respiratory diseases

      Useful websites

      Australian Centre for Airways disease Monitoring (ACAM) at

      National Asthma Council Australia at

      Australian Bureau of Statistics at

      Australian Institute of Health and Welfare at

      healthdirect at

Last Updated At: Tuesday, 28 July 2020