Diagnosis of asthma in children: the contribution of a detailed history and test results
IntroductionÂ There are little data on the usefulness of different tests to diagnose asthma in children.
AimÂ We assessed the contribution of a detailed history and a variety of diagnostic tests for diagnosing asthma in children.
MethodsÂ We studied children aged 6â€“16â€…years referred consecutively for evaluation of suspected asthma to two pulmonary outpatient clinics. Symptoms were assessed by parental questionnaire. The clinical evaluation included skin prick tests, measurement of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), spirometry, bronchodilator reversibility and bronchial provocation tests (BPT) by exercise, methacholine, and mannitol. Asthma was diagnosed by the physicians at the end of the visit. We assessed diagnostic accuracy of symptoms and tests by calculating sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative predictive values, and area under the curve (AUC).
ResultsÂ Of the 111 participants, 80 (72%) were diagnosed with asthma. The combined sensitivity and specificity was highest for reported frequent wheeze (>3â€…attacks/year) (sensitivity 0.44-specificity 0.90), awakening due to wheeze (0.41â€“0.90), and wheeze triggered by pollen (0.46â€“0.83) or by pets (0.29â€“0.99). Of the diagnostic tests, the AUC was highest for FeNO measurement (0.80) and BPT by methacholine (0.81) or exercise (0.74), and lowest for FEV1 (0.62) and FEV1/FVC (0.66), assessed by spirometry.
ConclusionÂ This study suggests that specific questions about triggers and severity of wheeze, measurement of FeNO and BPT by methacholine or exercise contribute more to the diagnosis of asthma in school-aged children than spirometry, bronchodilator reversibility and skin prick tests.
This manuscript has recently been accepted for publication in theÂ European Respiratory Journal. It is published here in its accepted form prior to copyediting and typesetting by our production team. After these production processes are complete and the authors have approved the resulting proofs, the article will move to the latest issue of theÂ ERJÂ online. Please open or download the PDF to view this article.
Conflict of interest: Dr. de Jong has nothing to disclose.
Conflict of interest: Dr. Pedersen has nothing to disclose.
Conflict of interest: Dr. Mozun has nothing to disclose.
Conflict of interest: Dr. Goutaki has nothing to disclose.
Conflict of interest: Dr. Trachsel has nothing to disclose.
Conflict of interest: Dr. Barben has nothing to disclose.
Conflict of interest: Dr. Kuehni has nothing to disclose.
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