Long term prognosis in preschool children with wheeze: longitudinal postal questionnaire study 1993-2004

Frank, Peter I.; Morris, Julie A.; Hazell, Michelle L.; Linehan, Mary F.; Frank, Timothy L.
June 2008
BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);6/21/2008, Vol. 336 Issue 7658, p1423
Academic Journal
Objectives To follow a population of preschool children with and without parent reported wheeze over a period of 6-11 years to determine prognosis and its important predictive factors. Design Longitudinal series of five postal surveys based on the international study of asthma and allergies in childhood questionnaire carried out between 1993 and 2004. Setting Two general practice populations, south Manchester. Participants 628 children aged less than 5 years at recruitment and those with at least six years' follow-up data. Main outcome measures Parent completed questionnaire data for respiratory symptoms and associated features. Results Of 628 children included in the study, 201 (32%) had parent reported wheeze at the first observation (baseline), of whom 27% also reported the symptom on the second occasion (persistent asthma). The only important baseline predictors of persistent asthma were exercise induced wheeze (odds ratio 3.94, 95% confidence interval 1.72 to 9.00) and a history of atopic disorders (4.44,1.94 to 10.13). The presence of both predictors indicated a likelihood of 53.2% of developing asthma; if only one feature was present this decreased to 17.2%, whereas if neither was present the likelihood was 10.9%. Family history of asthma was not predictive of persistent asthma among children with preschool wheeze. Conclusion Using two simple predictive factors (baseline parent reported exercise induced wheeze and a history of atopic disorders), it is possible to estimate the likelihood of future asthma in children presenting with preschool wheeze. The absence of baseline exercise induced wheeze and a history of atopic disorders reduces the likelihood of subsequent asthma by a factor of five.


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