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Prim Care Respir J. 2014 Mar;23(1):52-9. doi: 10.4104/pcrj.2014.00003.

Predicting asthma in preschool children at high risk presenting in primary care: development of a clinical asthma prediction score.

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Department of General Practice, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.



A setting-specific asthma prediction score for preschool children with wheezing and/or dyspnoea presenting in primary healthcare is needed since existing indices are mainly based on general populations.


To find an optimally informative yet practical set of predictors for the prediction of asthma in preschool children at high risk who present in primary healthcare.


A total of 771 Dutch preschool children at high risk of asthma were followed prospectively until the age of six years. Data on asthma symptoms and environmental conditions were obtained using validated questionnaires and specific IgE was measured. At the age of six years the presence of asthma was assessed based on asthma symptoms, medication, and bronchial hyper-responsiveness. A clinical asthma prediction score (CAPS) was developed using bootstrapped multivariable regression methods.


In all, 438 children (56.8%) completed the study; the asthma prevalence at six years was 42.7%. Five parameters optimally predicted asthma: age, family history of asthma or allergy, wheezing-induced sleep disturbances, wheezing in the absence of common colds, and specific IgE. CAPS scores range from 0 to 11 points; scores <3 signified a negative predictive value of 78.4% while scores of >7 signified a positive predictive value of 74.3%.


We have developed an easy-to-use CAPS for preschool children with symptoms suggesting asthma who present in primary healthcare. After suitable validation, the CAPS may assist in guiding shared decision-making to tailor the need for medical or non-medical interventions. External validation of the CAPS is needed.

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