Nguyen Cao

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Earth and Environmental Science


Earth and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Andrew Hunt


Asthma is a common chronic disease of the airways characterized by recurrent reversible airway obstruction. More than 25 million Americans have asthma. In this study, factors associated with adult asthma related emergency room discharges in North Central Texas during the period 2010 – 2014 were investigated. This study involved a total of 78,444 cases of adult asthma hospital discharges obtained from the Dallas-Fort-Worth-Hospital Council Foundation, socioeconomic indicators from the U.S. Bureau of Census databases, and air pollution and meteorological data obtained from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). A number of important relationships underpinning asthma hospital visits in NCT were identified. The NCT asthma discharge data exhibited a clear gender switch, demonstrated by the larger percentage of female asthma patients in all age groups; they also confirmed the reduced impact of asthma post menopause. The factors explored in relation to environmental correlates of asthma belonged to two categories: air pollution and socioeconomic status. Relationships between common outdoor air pollutants and asthma discharges was studied via the utilization of Principal Component Analysis (PCA), Hierarchical Agglomerative Clustering Analysis (HACA), Pearson correlation, and hot spot and cluster and outlier analyses. No strong and statistically significant correlation between outdoor air pollution and asthma discharges could be confirmed. Air pollution was concluded to not be a driver of emergency room visits for asthma. The association between socioeconomic status and asthma was revealed via multiple statistical analyses, namely Pearson correlation, hot spot and cluster and outlier analyses, and the construction of a socioeconomic deprivation index (SDI). Each analysis confirmed the statistically significant association between asthma discharge and socioeconomic status. The construction of SDI further suggested social standing disparities at the Census tract and county level of asthma patients.


Asthma, Air pollution, Socioeconomic status


Earth Sciences | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington