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Eur Respir J. 2003 Nov;22(5):767-71.

Predicting persistent disease among children who wheeze during early life.

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  • 1The David Hide Asthma & Allergy Research Centre, St Mary's Hospital, Newport, Isle of Wight, UK.


This study sought to determine factors influencing the persistence of early life wheezing up to the age of 10 yrs and to create a score identifying those with the highest risk of persistent disease. Children were seen at birth, 1, 2, 4 and 10 yrs in a whole population birth cohort study (n=1,456). Information was collected prospectively on wheeze prevalence and subjects were classified into wheezing phenotypes. Early life genetic and environmental risk factors were recorded and skin-prick testing (SPT) was performed at 4 yrs. Independently significant factors for persisting wheeze were identified at logistic regression and used to create a score for persistence. Wheezing persistence from the first 4 yrs to the age of 10 yrs occurred in 37% of early life wheezers. Independent significance for persistence was associated with asthmatic family history, atopic SPT at 4 yrs and recurrent chest infections at 2 yrs, whilst recurrent nasal symptoms at 1 yr conferred reduced risk. A cumulative risk score using these factors identified wheezing persistence in 83% scoring 4 and transience in 80% scoring 0. Thus, a combination of genetic predisposition, early life atopy and recurrent chest infections favours the persistence of early life wheezing. Risk scores using such knowledge could provide prognostic guidance on the outcome of early wheeze.

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