ARTICLE

Prevalence of asthma-like symptoms in young children.

Pediatr Pulmonol. 2007 Aug;42(8):723-8.
Bisgaard H, Szefler S.
Danish Pediatric Asthma Center, Copenhagen University Hospital, Gentofte, Copenhagen, Denmark.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the prevalence, impact, and treatment of asthma-like symptoms in preschool children in USA and Europe.

STUDY DESIGN: 7251 households in USA and Europe with at least one child aged 1-5 years were interviewed by telephone for recurrent days troubled by cough, wheeze or breathlessness during the recent 6 winter months.

RESULTS: 9490 young children were identified, 32% of whom were reported to suffer from recurrent days with troublesome cough, wheeze or breathlessness. Detailed interview with the 2700 mothers of the symptomatic children showed that 24% of this interview population suffered weekly symptoms despite current treatment with considerable impact on lifestyle and healthcare resource use. Antibiotics, cough- and herbal-medications were the most commonly used treatments. Anti-asthmatic and anti-allergy agents were prescribed in the order: inhaled beta(2)-agonists > inhaled corticosteroid > oral anti-histamines > oral corticosteroids. The reported symptom burden was higher in Southern Europe and there were pronounced regional differences in treatment and diagnostic terms.

CONCLUSIONS: Recurrent days with cough, wheeze or breathlessness in preschool children represents a major cause of morbidity in preschool children despite current treatment. There is a striking lack of international consensus on diagnosis and treatment. This uncontrolled morbidity highlights a significant unmet clinical need in preschool children.

 

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