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Respir Med. 2012 Oct;106(10):1383-8. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2012.06.005. Epub 2012 Jun 29.

Spirometry testing in a population of Italian children: age and gender differences.

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Laboratory for Mother and Child Health, Department of Public Health, Mario Negri Pharmacological Research Institute, via G. La Masa, 19, 20156 Milan, Italy.



To estimate how many asthmatic children underwent spirometry testing in one year in a large Italian region, and evaluate sociodemographic determinants.


Data were retrieved from the administrative databases that store all pharmacological and diagnostic prescriptions issued to individuals living in the Lombardy Region. The analysis involved prescriptions dispensed to all 6-17 year olds (1,047,241 subjects) during 2008. Youths were identified as asthmatics by a previously validated strategy. Number of subjects having ≥1 spirometry claims was calculated, and factors associated with the probability of undergoing spirometry were evaluated by multivariate analysis.


A total of 40,528 (3.9%) asthmatic subjects were identified. Only 30% of them underwent ≥1 spirometry during 2008, with differences between local health units (range 22-45%) and degree of anti-asthmatic use (26-35%). Moreover, in a multivariate analysis, the chance of undergoing spirometry was greater in boys than in girls (OR=2.3).


A low percentage of asthmatic children, especially girls (who are more at risk of developing severe disease in adulthood), underwent spirometry during 1-year period. This highlights a low compliance with guidelines in the monitoring of childhood asthma. Educational intervention is needed in order to encourage use of spirometry in primary care settings.

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