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Minerva Pediatrica 2018 October;70(5):444-57

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.18.05351-3

Copyright © 2018 EDIZIONI MINERVA MEDICA

language: English

Management of asthma in children

Andrew BUSH 1, 2, 3

1 Section of Pediatrics, Imperial College, London, UK; 2 National Heart and Lung Institute, London, UK; 3 Royal Brompton Harefield NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK



This manuscript takes a challenging look at the management of asthma in childhood, in particular in the light of the recent Lancet commission. One of the central pillars of the Commission is the need to deliver personalized medicine for airway disease by deconstructing the airway into components of fixed and variable airflow obstruction, inflammation and infection. Before any treatment for asthma, a diagnostic workup is essential to exclude other conditions. A diagnosis of asthma needs to be based on objective evidence of bronchodilator sensitive variable airflow obstruction, eosinophilic airway inflammation and atopy. Most children with atopic asthma respond to low dose inhaled corticosteroids, sometimes requiring a long acting β-agonist. If the response is unsatisfactory, then, rather than escalate treatment, an approach for which there is little evidence, a full review of the child should be undertaken, including extrapulmonary comorbidities, adherence and adverse environmental influences. If these cannot or will not be addressed by the family, then further treatment including biologicals may be indicated. Asthma attacks are an important warning sign and should always be taken seriously, including a focused reassessment of all aspects of the management of the child. Finally, preschool children with wheeze can also be evaluated for eosinophilic airway inflammation using peripheral blood eosinophil count as a surrogate. It is essential that we start to deliver personalized medicine to children with airway disease.


KEY WORDS: Nitric oxide - Eosinophils - Asthma

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