Diagnosing asthma in preschool children remains an unsolved challenge, at a time when early identification would allow for better education and treatment to prevent morbidity and lung function deterioration. Objective: To evaluate if the Asthma Predictive Index (API) can be used as surrogate for asthma diagnosis in preschoolers. Methods: Birth cohort of 339 pregnant women enrolled at delivery and their offspring, who were followed for atopy, wheezing, and other respiratory illnesses through 30 months of age. The API was determined at 30 months of age by the researchers; and examined its association with physician-diagnosed asthma during the first 30 months, made independently by the primary care physician not involved in the study. Results: Among 307 offspring with complete follow-up, 44 (14.3%) were API+. Maternal body mass index, maternal education, past oral contraceptive use, birthweight, placenta weight, age of daycare at 12m, gastroesophageal reflux disease at 12m, acute otitis media at 18m, bronchiolitis, croup and pneumonia, cord blood adiponectin were all associated with API+. In the multivariable analysis, API+ was associated with almost 6-fold odds of asthma diagnosis (adjusted OR= 5.7, 95% CI [2.6-12.3]), after adjusting for the relevant covariates above including respiratory infections like bronchiolitis and pneumonia. The API sensitivity was 48%, specificity 92%, 61% PPV, 88% NPV, 6.4 LR+, 0.56 LR-, 0.84 diagnosis accuracy. The adjusted odds for asthma was 11.4. Conclusions: This longitudinal birth cohort suggests, for first time, that API could be used as a diagnostic tool, not only as a prognostic tool, in toddlers and preschoolers.
Background: The interplay between COVID-19 pandemic and asthma in children is still unclear. We evaluated the impact of COVID-19 on childhood asthma outcomes. Methods: The PeARL multinational cohort included 1,054 children with asthma and 505 non-asthmatic children aged between 4-18 years from 25 pediatric departments, from 15 countries globally. We compared the frequency of acute respiratory and febrile presentations during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic between groups and with data available from the previous year. In children with asthma, we also compared current and historical disease control. Results: During the pandemic, children with asthma experienced fewer upper respiratory tract infections, episodes of pyrexia, emergency visits, hospital admissions, asthma attacks and hospitalizations due to asthma, in comparison to the preceding year. Sixty-six percent of asthmatic children had improved asthma control while in 33% the improvement exceeded the minimal clinically important difference. Pre-bronchodilatation FEV1 and peak expiratory flow rate were improved during the pandemic. When compared to non-asthmatic controls, children with asthma were not at increased risk of LRTIs, episodes of pyrexia, emergency visits or hospitalizations during the pandemic. However, an increased risk of URTIs emerged. Conclusion: Childhood asthma outcomes, including control, were improved during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, probably because of reduced exposure to asthma triggers and increased treatment adherence. The decreased frequency of acute episodes does not support the notion that childhood asthma may be a risk factor for COVID-19. Furthermore, the potential for improving childhood asthma outcomes through environmental control becomes apparent.
Background: Small airway dysfunction in asthma can be measured by impulse oscillometry (IOS), where sometimes the reactance can exhibit an inversion of the curve, and its correction can determine a new value for X5: approximate X5 (X5 approx.). Our hypothesis is that X5 approx. exhibits a closer association with parameters of airway dysfunction in the IOS than X5. Methods: We analyzed 403 children (3-17 years old) who performed IOS (Sentry Suit, Vyntus®) and spirometry, recording R5, AX, X5, X5approx., Fres, D5-20 and FEF25-75. Groups X5 and X5 approx. were compared with respect to the percentage of abnormal IOS parameters, their averages, FEF25-75, and their correlation with each IOS parameter. Also, we explored the correlation between X5 and X5 approx. with each IOS parameter. Results: We found a significant decreasing prevalence of X5 approx. with age (84.6% in preschoolers, 67.2% in schoolchildren, and 36.5% in adolescents, p for trend <0.001). The preschoolers and schoolchildren with X5 approx. exhibited significant (p<0.05) alterations in many other IOS parameters (e.g. R5, Fes, AX, and D5-20) compared with those with X5. Adolescents exhibited a significant (p<0.01) alteration only for D5-20. The means of R5, AX, and D5-20 were significantly (p<0.01) higher in children with X5 approx. than with X5. Finally, in the all the age categories, compared with X5, X5 approx. correlated better with other IOS parameters and FEF25-75. Conclusion: The presence of X5 approx. decreases with age and correlates more closely than X5 with other IOS parameters for the evaluation of small airway dysfunction
Objectives. Although recent evidence suggests that management of viral bronchiolitis requires something other than guidelines-guided therapy, there is a lack of evidence supporting the economic benefits of phenotypic-guided bronchodilator therapy for treating this disease. The aim of the present study was to compare the cost-effectiveness of phenotypic-guided versus guidelines-guided bronchodilator therapy in infants with viral bronchiolitis. Methods: A decision‐analysis model was developed in order to compare the cost-effectiveness of phenotypic-guided versus guidelines-guided bronchodilator therapy in infants with viral bronchiolitis. The effectiveness parameters and costs of the model were obtained from electronic medical records. The main outcome was avoidance of hospital admission after initial care in the ED. Results: Compared to guidelines-guided strategy, treating patients with viral bronchiolitis with the phenotypic-guided bronchodilator therapy strategy was associated with lower total costs (US$250.99 vs US$263.46 average cost per patient) and a higher probability of avoidance of hospital admission (0.7902 vs 0.7638), thus leading to dominance. Results were robust to deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. Conclusions: Compared to guidelines-guided strategy, treating infants with viral bronchiolitis using the phenotypic-guided bronchodilator therapy strategy is a more cost-effective strategy, because it involves a lower probability of hospital admission at lower total treatment costs.
International guidelines have recommended the use of inhaled beta-2 agonists and systemic corticosteroids (SC) as the first-line treatment for acute asthma. Objective: To evaluate the evidence for the efficacy of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in addition to SC compared to SC alone in children with acute asthma in the ED or during hospitalization. Data sources: Five electronic databases were searched. Study Selection: All RCTs that compared ICS (via nebulizer or metered dose inhaler) plus SC (oral or parenteral) with placebo (or standard care) plus SC were included without language restriction. Data extraction: Two reviewers independently reviewed all studies. The primary outcomes were hospital admission or hospital length of stay [LOS], and secondary outcomes were readmissions during follow-up, ED-LOS, lung function, asthma clinical score, oxygen saturation, and heart and respiratory rates. Results: Nine studies (n=1473) met the inclusion criteria. In all the studies, the ICS was budesonide. Compared to SC alone, adding budesonide to SC did not affect hospitalization rate, but decreased hospital LOS by more than one day (MD= -29.08 hours [-39.9 to -18.3]; I2=0%, p=<0.00001). Moreover, adding budesonide (especially with ≥2mg doses) significantly improved the acute asthma severity score among patients at ED. Conclusions: Compared to SC alone, adding budesonide to SC did not affect hospitalization rate, but decreases the LOS and improves the acute asthma score in children at ED setting.
Rationale: Whether asthma constitutes a risk factor for COVID-19 is unclear. Here we aimed to assess whether asthma, the most common chronic disease in children, is a risk factor for COVID-19 in pediatric populations. Methods: We performed a systematic literature search in three stages: First, we reviewed PubMed, EMBASE and CINAHL for systematic reviews of SARS-CoC-2 and COVID-19 in pediatric populations, and reviewed their primary articles; second, we searched PubMed for studies on COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2 and asthma/wheeze, and evaluated whether the resulting studies included pediatric populations; third, we repeated the second search in BioRxiv.org and MedRxiv.org to find pre-prints that may have information on pediatric asthma. Results: In the first search, eight systematic reviews were found, of which five were done in pediatric population; after reviewing 67 primary studies we found no data on pediatric asthma as a comorbidity for COVID-19. In the second search, we found 34 results in PubMed, of which five reported asthma in adults, but none included data on children. In the third search, 23 pre-prints in MedRxiv were identified with data on asthma, but again none with pediatric data. We found only one report by the U.S. CDC stating that 40/345 (~11.5%) children with data on chronic conditions had “chronic lung diseases including asthma”. Conclusion: There is scarcely any data on whether childhood asthma (or other pediatric respiratory diseases) constitute risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection or COVID-19 severity. Studies are needed that go beyond counting the number of cases in the pediatric age range.