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Pediatr Pulmonol. 1998 Aug;26(2):113-9.

One-year follow-up of young children hospitalized for wheezing: the influence of early anti-inflammatory therapy and risk factors for subsequent wheezing and asthma.

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Department of Pediatrics, Kuopio University Hospital, Finland.


We investigated the 1-year outcome of children hospitalized for wheezing, paying special attention to the effect of early anti-inflammatory therapy. In addition, we identified risk factors for recurrent wheezing and asthma. Eighty-eight children under 2 years old treated in the hospital for wheezing were followed for 1 year. Nebulized anti-inflammatory therapy was given for 16 weeks: 31 patients received budesonide, 29 patients cromolyn sodium, and 28 control patients received no therapy. The number of subsequent physician-diagnosed wheezing episodes was recorded. Four months of anti-inflammatory therapy did not significantly decrease the occurrence of asthma 1 year later; 45% of patients in the cromolyn group, 42% in the budesonide group, and 61% in the control group had asthma, defined as at least two bronchial obstruction episodes during the 1-year period after the original hospitalization for wheezing. An age over 12 months at the time of the initial bronchial obstructing episode [P=0.009, risk ratio (RR)=5.4, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.53-19.31], failure to identify a viral cause (P=0.0003, RR=12.0, CI=3.16-45.40), history of wheezing (P=0.02, RR=14.6, CI=1.59-132.10), the presence of atopy (P=0.01, RR=5.3, CI=1.47-19.21), a family history of atopy (P=0.03, RR=3.6, CI =1.15-11.12), and serum eosinophil cationic protein (ECP) > or = 16 microg/L (P=0.005) were significant risk factors for asthma. We conclude that early anti-inflammatory therapy for 4 months does not significantly decrease the occurrence of asthma during the period of 1 year following hospitalization for the original episode of wheezing. Young children requiring hospital admission for wheezing during a respiratory tract infection are at increased risk of having subsequent asthma if they have wheezed previously, if they have atopy or a family history of atopy, if they have elevated serum ECP, if they are over 12 months of age at the original bronchial obstructive episode, and especially when viral studies are negative.

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