The use of inhaled glucocorticoids for persistent asthma causes a temporary reduction in growth velocity in prepubertal children. The resulting decrease in attained height 1 to 4 years after the initiation of inhaled glucocorticoids is thought not to decrease attained adult height.
We measured adult height in 943 of 1041 participants (90.6%) in the Childhood Asthma Management Program; adult height was determined at a mean (±SD) age of 24.9±2.7 years. Starting at the age of 5 to 13 years, the participants had been randomly assigned to receive 400 μg of budesonide, 16 mg of nedocromil, or placebo daily for 4 to 6 years. We calculated differences in adult height for each active treatment group, as compared with placebo, using multiple linear regression with adjustment for demographic characteristics, asthma features, and height at trial entry.
Mean adult height was 1.2 cm lower (95% confidence interval [CI], −1.9 to −0.5) in the budesonide group than in the placebo group (P = 0.001) and was 0.2 cm lower (95% CI, −0.9 to 0.5) in the nedocromil group than in the placebo group (P = 0.61). A larger daily dose of inhaled glucocorticoid in the first 2 years was associated with a lower adult height (−0.1 cm for each microgram per kilogram of body weight) (P = 0.007). The reduction in adult height in the budesonide group as compared with the placebo group was similar to that seen after 2 years of treatment (−1.3 cm; 95% CI, −1.7 to −0.9). During the first 2 years, decreased growth velocity in the budesonide group occurred primarily in prepubertal participants.
The initial decrease in attained height associated with the use of inhaled glucocorticoids in prepubertal children persisted as a reduction in adult height, although the decrease was not progressive or cumulative.
Experimental asthma increases eosinophil and collagen deposition in the lungs of sickle cell disease (SCD) mice to a greater extent than in control mice. However, the effects of asthma on inflammation and airway physiology remain unclear. To determine effects of asthma on pulmonary inflammation and airway mechanics in SCD mice, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was used to generate chimeric SCD and hemoglobin A mice. Experimental asthma was induced by sensitizing mice with ovalbumin (OVA). Airway mechanics were assessed using forced oscillation techniques. Mouse lungs were examined histologically and physiologically. Cytokine, chemokine, and growth factors in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid were determined by multiplex. IgE was quantified by ELISA. LDH was quantified using a colorimetric enzymatic assay. At baseline (nonsensitized), chimeric SCD mice developed hemolytic anemia with sickled red blood cells, mild leukocytosis, and increased vascular endothelial growth factor and IL-13 compared with chimeric hemoglobin A mice. Experimental asthma increased perialveolar eosinophils, plasma IgE, and bronchoalveolar lavage fluid IL-1β, IL-4, IL-6, and monocyte chemotactic protein 1 in chimeric hemoglobin A and SCD mice. IFN-γ levels were reduced in both groups. IL-5 was preferentially increased in chimeric SCD mice but not in hemoglobin A mice. Positive end-expiratory pressures and methacholine studies revealed that chimeric SCD mice had greater resistance in large and small airways compared with hemoglobin A mice at baseline and after OVA sensitization. SCD alone induces a baseline lung pathology that increases large and small airway resistance and primes the lungs to increased inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness after OVA sensitization.
sickle cell disease; OVA sensitization; IgE; IL-5; airway hyperresponsiveness
Low socioeconomic status (SES) is a strong predictor of many health problems, including asthma impairment; however, little is understood about why some individuals defy this trend by exhibiting good asthma control despite living in adverse environments.
This study sought to test whether a psychological characteristic – “shift-and-persist” (dealing with stressors by reframing them more positively, while at the same time, persisting in optimistic thoughts about the future) - protects low SES children with asthma.
121 children physician-diagnosed with asthma, ages 9-18, were recruited from medical practices and community advertisements (M age=12.6, 67% male, 61% Caucasian). Shift-and-persist and asthma inflammation (eosinophil counts, stimulated IL-4 cytokine production) were assessed at baseline, and asthma impairment (daily diary measures of rescue inhaler use and school absences), and daily peak flow were monitored at baseline and at a 6-month follow-up.
Children who came from low SES backgrounds but who engaged in shift-and-persist strategies displayed less asthma inflammation at baseline (β=.19, p<.05), as well as less asthma impairment (reduced rescue inhaler use and fewer school absences; β=.32, p<.01) prospectively at a 6 month follow-up period. In contrast, shift-and-persist strategies were not beneficial among high SES children with asthma.
An approach that focuses on the psychological qualities that low SES children develop to adapt to stressors may represent one practical and effective starting point for reducing health disparities. Moreover, the approaches that are effective in low SES communities may be different from those that are optimal in a high SES context.
socioeconomic status; asthma; children; psychological; stress
The effect on linear growth of daily long-term inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) therapy in preschool-aged children with recurrent wheezing is controversial.
To determine the effect of daily ICS given for 2 years on linear growth in preschool children with recurrent wheezing.
Children ages 2 and 3 years with recurrent wheezing and positive modified asthma predictive indices were randomized to a two-year treatment period of fluticasone propionate CFC (176 mcg/day) or masked-placebo delivered by valved chamber with mask and then followed 2 years off study medication. Height growth determined by stadiometry was compared between treatment groups.
In the study cohort as a whole, the fluticasone group did not have significantly less linear growth than the placebo-group [change in height from baseline difference (ΔHt) of −0.2 cm (95% CI, −1.1, 0.6)] two years after discontinuation of study treatment. In post-hoc analyses, children 2 years old and who weighed < 15 kg at enrollment treated with fluticasone had less linear growth compared to placebo [ΔHt of −1.6 cm (95% CI, −2.8, −0.4), p=0.009].
Linear growth was not significantly different in high-risk, recurrent wheezing preschool age children treated with CFC fluticasone 176 mcg/day compared to placebo 2 years after fluticasone is discontinued. However, post-hoc subgroup analyses revealed that children who are younger in age and of lesser weight relative to the entire study cohort had significantly less linear growth, possibly due to a higher relative fluticasone exposure.
Asthma predictive index; atopy; clinical trials; early childhood asthma; fluticasone; inhaled corticosteroids; intermittent wheezing; linear growth; research network
Although nocturnal awakenings help categorize asthma severity and control, their clinical significance has not been thoroughly studied.
To determine the clinical consequences of nocturnal asthma symptom(s) requiring albuterol in children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma outside of periods when oral corticosteroids were used for worsening asthma symptoms.
285 children ages 6 to 14 years with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma were randomized to receive one of three controller regimens and completed daily symptom diaries for 48 weeks. Diary responses were analyzed for the frequency and consequences of nocturnal asthma symptoms requiring albuterol.
Nocturnal asthma symptoms requiring albuterol occurred in 72.2% of participants at least once and in 24.3% ≥13 times. 81.3% of nocturnal symptoms occurred outside of exacerbation periods and were associated the next day with the following events: albuterol use (56.9% of days preceded by nocturnal symptoms versus 18.1% of days not preceded by nocturnal symptoms, Relative Risk (RR) 2.3, 95%CI: 2.2,2.4), school absence (5.0% versus 0.3%, RR 10.6, 95%CI: 7.8,14.4), and doctor contact (3.7% versus 0.2%, RR 8.8, 95%CI:6.1,12.5). Similar findings were noted during exacerbation periods (RR 1.7 for albuterol use, 5.5 for school absence, and 4.9 for doctor contact). Nocturnal symptoms did not predict the onset of exacerbations.
Nocturnal symptoms requiring albuterol in children with mild-to-moderate persistent asthma receiving controller therapy occurred predominantly outside of exacerbation periods. Despite being poor predictors of exacerbations, they were associated with increases in albuterol use, school absences, and doctor contacts the day after nocturnal symptom occurrences.
asthma; nocturnal symptoms; exacerbation
Children with food-specific IgE (FSIgE) ≤2 kUa/L to milk, egg, or peanut (or ≤5kUa/L to peanut without history of previous reaction) are appropriate candidates for oral food challenge (OFC) to investigate resolution of food allergy, because these FSIgE cutoffs are associated with ∼50% likelihood of negative OFC. This study was designed to identify characteristics of children undergoing OFC, based on these FSIgE levels, who are most likely to show negative OFC. We collected demographics, severity of previous reaction, history of atopic diseases, total IgE and FSIgE values, and skin tests results on children who underwent OFCs to milk, egg, or peanut, based on the recommended FSIgE cutoffs. We identified independent factors associated with negative OFCs. Four hundred forty-four OFCs met our inclusion criteria. The proportions of negative OFCs performed based on FSIgE cutoffs alone were 58, 42, and 63% to milk, egg, and peanuts, respectively. Regression models identified independent factors associated with negative OFCs: lower FSIgE levels (all three foods), higher total IgE (milk), consumption of baked egg products (egg), and non-Caucasian race (eggs and peanuts). Combinations of these factors identified subgroups of children with proportions of negative OFCs of 83, 75, and 75% for milk, eggs, and peanuts, respectively. Combinations of clinical and laboratory elements, together with FSIgE values, might identify more children who are likely to have negative OFCs compared with current recommendations using FSIgE values alone. Once validated in a different population, these factors might be used for selection of patients who are most likely to show negative OFCs.
Children; food allergy; food specific IgE; oral food challenge; regression models; skin test; total IgE
To assess the likely impact of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory not to use over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold products for children < 2 years old on care provided by pediatricians and parents
One-hundred and five community pediatricians completed a mailed survey (53% response rate), and 1,265 parents with children < 12 years old completed a self-administered survey while waiting for an office visit.
All physicians were aware of the advisory; 75% agreed with it. Fifty-nine percent did not recommend OTC cough and cold products for children < 2 years old before the advisory and 35% were less likely to do so afterwards.
Seventy-three percent of parents were aware of the advisory, 70% believed these products relieved symptoms, 68% did not believe they were dangerous, and 74% had them at home. After the advisory, 21% of parents were more likely to request an antibiotic from the doctor. 225 parents only had children < 2 years old and 695 only had children 2–11 years old. Among these parental groups respectively, 53% and 10% of parents did not use these products before the advisory, an additional 33% and 28% were less likely to do so afterwards, and 15% and 61% would continue use them.
Pediatricians must be prepared for requests from parents for antibiotics and other remedies for symptom relief for their children with colds. As no effective alternatives are available maybe non-treatment should be promoted.
Upper respiratory infections; over-the-counter medications
Children with sickle cell disease (SCD) and a comorbid condition of asthma have increased numbers of vaso-occlusive pain and acute chest syndrome episodes, and all-cause mortality. When assessed systematically, asthma prevalence is probably similar among children with SCD when compared with the general African–American population. With increasing recognition of the importance of asthma in the management of SCD, hematologists must become familiar with asthma and develop a multidisciplinary approach, including early recognition, appropriate management and referral to asthma specialists.
acute chest syndrome; asthma; bronchial hyper-reactivity; bronchodilator response; pulmonary function tests; sickle cell disease; sickle cell pain
Asthma in children with sickle cell anemia (SCA) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality. However, the definition of asthma in SCA is based on a physician's impression. In a retrospective cohort of children with SCA, relationships between a physician diagnosis of asthma and total and allergen specific IgE levels were evaluated. In children with SCA, elevated total and specific IgE levels were significantly associated with a diagnosis of asthma (P<0.05), further supporting the concept that asthma is a separate co-morbid condition of SCA.
sickle cell disease; IgE; asthma
A doctor diagnosis of asthma is associated with increased morbidity (pain and acute chest syndrome, ACS) among children with sickle cell disease (SCD). An association between IgE levels and asthma and morbidity has not been investigated in children with SCD.
We tested the hypothesis that elevated total and allergen-specific IgE levels are associated with asthma and SCD morbidity in children with SCD.
A cross-sectional study of children with SCD who participated in the Silent Cerebral Infarct Trial was conducted. Logistic regression and negative binomial regression were used to investigate potential associations of total and allergen-specific IgE levels with asthma diagnosis and SCD morbidity, both confirmed by medical record review. Elevation of total IgE was defined as age- and sex-adjusted IgE exceeding 90th percentile compared to a non-atopic reference population. IgE antibody positivity to Altermaria alternata (mold), Blatella germanica (cockroach), and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (dust mite) was assessed by ImmunoCAP analysis.
Children with SCD (140 asthmatics, 381 non-asthmatics) were evaluated. Elevations in total IgE (p = 0.04) and IgE antibody specific for Altermaria alternata (p = 0.0003), Blatella germanica (p = 0.008), and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (p = 0.01) were associated with asthma. ACS (p = 0.048) but not pain (p = 0.20) was associated with total IgE, but neither were associated with specific IgE levels.
Significantly increased levels of total and allergen-specific IgE levels are associated with asthma in SCD. High IgE levels are a risk factor for ACS and not pain rates.
Total IgE; allergen-specific IgE; asthma risk indicator; acute chest syndrome; pain; sickle cell disease; hemoglobinopathies
Daily inhaled glucocorticoids are recommended for young children at risk for asthma exacerbations, as indicated by a positive value on the modified asthma predictive index (API) and an exacerbation in the preceding year, but concern remains about daily adherence and effects on growth. We compared daily therapy with intermittent therapy.
We studied 278 children between the ages of 12 and 53 months who had positive values on the modified API, recurrent wheezing episodes, and at least one exacerbation in the previous year but a low degree of impairment. Children were randomly assigned to receive a budesonide inhalation suspension for 1 year as either an intermittent high-dose regimen (1 mg twice daily for 7 days, starting early during a predefined respiratory tract illness) or a daily low-dose regimen (0.5 mg nightly) with corresponding placebos. The primary outcome was the frequency of exacerbations requiring oral glucocorticoid therapy.
The daily regimen of budesonide did not differ significantly from the intermittent regimen with respect to the frequency of exacerbations, with a rate per patient-year for the daily regimen of 0.97 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.76 to 1.22) versus a rate of 0.95 (95% CI, 0.75 to 1.20) for the intermittent regimen (relative rate in the intermittent-regimen group, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.71 to 1.35; P=0.60). There were also no significant between-group differences in several other measures of asthma severity, including the time to the first exacerbation, or adverse events. The mean exposure to budesonide was 104 mg less with the intermittent regimen than with the daily regimen.
A daily low-dose regimen of budesonide was not superior to an intermittent high-dose regimen in reducing asthma exacerbations. Daily administration led to greater exposure to the drug at 1 year.
Many children with asthma live with frequent symptoms and activity limitations, and visits for urgent care are common. Many pediatricians do not regularly meet with families to monitor asthma control, identify concerns or problems with management, or provide self-management education. Effective interventions to improve asthma care such as small group training and care redesign have been difficult to disseminate into office practice.
Methods and design
This paper describes the protocol for a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate a 12-month telephone-coaching program designed to support primary care management of children with persistent asthma and subsequently to improve asthma control and disease-related quality of life and reduce urgent care events for asthma care. Randomization occurred at the practice level with eligible families within a practice having access to the coaching program or to usual care. The coaching intervention was based on the transtheoretical model of behavior change. Targeted behaviors included 1) effective use of controller medications, 2) effective use of rescue medications and 3) monitoring to ensure optimal control. Trained lay coaches provided parents with education and support for asthma care, tailoring the information provided and frequency of contact to the parent's readiness to change their child's day-to-day asthma management. Coaching calls varied in frequency from weekly to monthly. For each participating family, follow-up measurements were obtained at 12- and 24-months after enrollment in the study during a telephone interview.
The primary outcomes were the mean change in 1) the child's asthma control score, 2) the parent's quality of life score, and 3) the number of urgent care events assessed at 12 and 24 months. Secondary outcomes reflected adherence to guideline recommendations by the primary care pediatricians and included the proportion of children prescribed controller medications, having maintenance care visits at least twice a year, and an asthma action plan. Cost-effectiveness of the intervention was also measured.
Twenty-two practices (66 physicians) were randomized (11 per treatment group), and 950 families with a child 3-12 years old with persistent asthma were enrolled. A description of the coaching intervention is presented.
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00860834.
Asthma; Behavioral skills training; Lay coaching
To determine whether long-term, continuous use of inhaled anti-inflammatory medications affects asthma outcomes in children with mild-moderate asthma after use is discontinued.
Of 1,041 participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program randomized clinical trial, 941 (90%) were followed to determine whether 4.3 years of twice daily budesonide or nedocromil (each compared with placebo) affected subsequent asthma outcomes during a 4.8 year post-trial period in which treatment was managed by the participant's physician.
The groups treated continuously during the trial with either budesonide or nedocromil did not differ from placebo in lung function, control of asthma, or psychological status at the end of 4.8 years of post-trial follow-up; however, the decreased mean height in the budesonide group relative to the placebo group at the end of the trial (1.1 cm, P=0.005) remained statistically significant (0.9 cm, P=0.01) after an additional 4.8 years and was more pronounced in girls (1.7 cm; P=0.001) than boys (0.3 cm; P=0.49). Participants used inhaled corticosteroids during 30% of the post-trial period in all groups.
Clinically meaningful improvements in control of asthma and improvements in airway responsiveness achieved during continuous treatment with inhaled corticosteroids do not persist after continuous treatment is discontinued.
Cost-effectiveness analyses of asthma controller regimens for adults exist, but similar evaluations exclusively for children are few.
To compare the cost-effectiveness of two commonly used asthma controllers, fluticasone and montelukast, with data from the Pediatric Asthma Controller Trial.
We compared the cost-effectiveness of low-dose fluticasone with montelukast in a randomized controlled multi-center clinical trial in children with mild-moderate persistent asthma. Analyses were also conducted on subgroups based on phenotypic factors. Effectiveness measures included a) the number of asthma-control days, b) the percentage of participants with an increase over baseline of FEV1≥12%, and c) the number of exacerbations avoided. Costs were analyzed from both a US health care payer's perspective and a societal perspective.
For all cost-effectiveness measures studied, fluticasone cost less and was more effective than montelukast; e.g., fluticasone treatment cost $430 less in mean direct cost (P<0.01) and had 40 more asthma control days (P<0.01) during the 48 week study period. Considering sampling uncertainty, fluticasone cost less and was more effective at least 95% of the time. For the high eNO phenotypic subgroup (eNO≥25ppb) and more responsive PC20 subgroup (PC20<2 mg/mL), fluticasone was cost-effective compared with montelukast for all cost-effectiveness measures; whereas not all the effectiveness measures were statistically different for the other two phenotypic subgroups.
For children with mild-moderate persistent asthma, low dose fluticasone had lower cost and higher effectiveness compared with montelukast, especially in those with more airway inflammation as indicated by elevated levels of eNO and more responsivity to methacholine.
Cost-effectiveness analysis; childhood asthma; fluticasone; montelukast; PACT
A subset of children with asthma respond better to leukotriene receptor antagonists (LTRA) than to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). Information is needed to identify children with these preferential responses.
To determine whether the ratio of urinary leukotriene E4 to fractional exhaled nitric oxide (LTE4: FENO) delineates children with preferential responsiveness to montelukast (MT) compared to fluticasone propionate (FP) therapy.
Data from 318 children with mild to moderate asthma enrolled in 2 NHLBI CARE network studies (CLIC and PACT) were analyzed. The association between LTE4: FENO ratios at baseline and improved lung function or asthma control days (ACDs) with MT and FP therapy was determined and phenotypic characteristics related to high ratios was assessed.
LTE4: FENO ratios were associated with a greater response to MT than FP therapy for forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) measurements (2.1% increase per doubling of ratio, p=0.001) and for ACDs per week (0.3 increase, p= 0.009) in the CLIC study. In PACT, the ratio was associated with greater FEV1 responsiveness to MT than FP therapy (0.6% increase, p= 0.03). In a combined study analysis, LTE4: FENO ratios were associated with greater response to MT than FP therapy for FEV1 (0.8% increase, p=0.0005) and ACDs (0.3 increase, p=0.008). Children with LTE4: FENO ratios at or above the 75th percentile were likely (p<0.05) to be younger, female and exhibit lower levels of atopic markers and methacholine reactivity.
LTE4: FENO ratios predict a better response to MT than FP therapy in children with mild to moderate asthma.
In children with mild to moderate asthma, the LTE4: FENO ratio is associated with a better response to montelukast compared to fluticasone therapy.
Data from 318 children with mild to moderate asthma enrolled in 2 NHLBI network studies (CLIC and PACT) were analyzed. Urinary LTE4: FENO ratios predicted a better response to MT than FP therapy.
asthma; biomarkers; fluticasone propionate; inhaled corticosteroids; leukotriene E4; montelukast
Few studies have examined the effects of in utero smoke exposure (IUS) on lung function in children with asthma, and there are no published data on the impact of IUS on treatment outcomes in asthmatic children.
To explore whether IUS exposure is associated with increased airway responsiveness among children with asthma, and whether IUS modifies the response to treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS).
To assess the impact of parent-reported IUS exposure on airway responsiveness in childhood asthma we performed a repeated-measures analysis of methacholine PC20 data from the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP), a four-year, multicenter, randomized double masked placebo controlled trial of 1041 children ages 5–12 comparing the long term efficacy of ICS with mast cell stabilizing agents or placebo.
Although improvement was seen in both groups, asthmatic children with IUS exposure had on average 26% less of an improvement in airway responsiveness over time compared to unexposed children (p=.01). Moreover, while children who were not exposed to IUS who received budesonide experienced substantial improvement in PC20 compared to untreated children (1.25 fold-increase, 95% CI 1.03, 1.50, p=.02) the beneficial effects of budesonide were attenuated among children with a history of IUS exposure (1.04 fold-increase, 95% CI 0.65, 1.68, p=.88).
IUS reduces age-related improvements in airway responsiveness among asthmatic children. Moreover, IUS appears to blunt the beneficial effects of ICS use on airways responsiveness. These results emphasize the importance of preventing this exposure through smoking cessation counseling efforts with pregnant women.
asthma; in utero smoke exposure; airway responsiveness; inhaled corticosteroids
Asthma is a common chronic respiratory disease characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). The genetics of asthma have been widely studied in mouse and human, and homologous genomic regions have been associated with mouse AHR and human asthma-related phenotypes. Our goal was to identify asthma-related genes by integrating AHR associations in mouse with human genome-wide association study (GWAS) data. We used Efficient Mixed Model Association (EMMA) analysis to conduct a GWAS of baseline AHR measures from males and females of 31 mouse strains. Genes near or containing SNPs with EMMA p-values <0.001 were selected for further study in human GWAS. The results of the previously reported EVE consortium asthma GWAS meta-analysis consisting of 12,958 diverse North American subjects from 9 study centers were used to select a subset of homologous genes with evidence of association with asthma in humans. Following validation attempts in three human asthma GWAS (i.e., Sepracor/LOCCS/LODO/Illumina, GABRIEL, DAG) and two human AHR GWAS (i.e., SHARP, DAG), the Kv channel interacting protein 4 (KCNIP4) gene was identified as nominally associated with both asthma and AHR at a gene- and SNP-level. In EVE, the smallest KCNIP4 association was at rs6833065 (P-value 2.9e-04), while the strongest associations for Sepracor/LOCCS/LODO/Illumina, GABRIEL, DAG were 1.5e-03, 1.0e-03, 3.1e-03 at rs7664617, rs4697177, rs4696975, respectively. At a SNP level, the strongest association across all asthma GWAS was at rs4697177 (P-value 1.1e-04). The smallest P-values for association with AHR were 2.3e-03 at rs11947661 in SHARP and 2.1e-03 at rs402802 in DAG. Functional studies are required to validate the potential involvement of KCNIP4 in modulating asthma susceptibility and/or AHR. Our results suggest that a useful approach to identify genes associated with human asthma is to leverage mouse AHR association data.
Asthma exacerbations, most often due to respiratory tract infections, are the leading causes of asthma morbidity and comprise a significant proportion of asthma-related costs. Vitamin D status may play a role in preventing asthma exacerbations.
To assess the relationship between serum vitamin D levels and subsequent severe asthma exacerbations.
We measured 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) levels in serum collected from 1,024 mild to moderate persistent asthmatic children at the time of enrollment in a multi-center clinical trial of children randomized to receiving budesonide, nedocromil, or placebo (as-needed beta-agonists), the Childhood Asthma Management Program. Using multivariable modeling we examined the relationship between baseline vitamin D level and the odds of any hospitalization or emergency department (ED) visit over the 4 years of the trial.
35% of all subjects were vitamin D insufficient, as defined by a level ≤ 30 ng/ml 25(OH)D. Mean vitamin D levels were lowest in African-American subjects, and highest in whites. After adjusting for age, sex, BMI, income, and treatment group, insufficient vitamin D status was associated with a higher odds of any hospitalization or ED visit (odds ratio [OR] 1.5 [95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.1 – 1.9] P =0.01).
Vitamin D insufficiency is common in this population of North American children with mild to moderate persistent asthma, and is associated with higher odds of severe exacerbation over a four year period.
Asthma; Vitamin D; inhaled corticosteroids; asthma exacerbations
To examine parent-observed signs and symptoms as antecedents of wheezing in preschool children with prior moderate to severe wheezing episodes, as well as to determine the predictive capacity of these symptom patterns for wheezing events.
Parents (n = 238 ) of children 12–59 months of age with moderate-to-severe intermittent wheezing enrolled in a year-long clinical trial completed surveys that captured signs and symptoms at the start of respiratory tract illnesses. Sensitivity, specificity, negative predictive value, and positive predictive values for each symptom leading to wheezing during that respiratory tract illness were calculated.
The most commonly reported first symptom categories during the first respiratory tract illness were “nose symptoms” (41%), “significant cough” (29%), and “insignificant cough” (13%). The most reliable predictor of subsequent wheezing was “significant cough”, which had specificity of 78% and positive predictive value of 74% for predicting wheezing.
“Significant cough” is the most reliable antecedent of wheezing during a respiratory tract illness. It may be useful to consider individualized symptom patterns as a component of management plans intended to minimize wheezing episodes.
Although psychosocial stress has been linked to clinical asthma outcomes, controlled, laboratory paradigms that test associations between psychosocial stress and markers of airway inflammation in humans are lacking. There is also little known about how individual background characteristics may affect variability across individuals in asthma-relevant inflammatory and pulmonary responses to stress. The goals of this study were to investigate the effects of a laboratory stress paradigm on markers of airway inflammation and pulmonary function in children with asthma, and to determine why some children are more biologically responsive to stress. 38 children physician-diagnosed with asthma, and 23 healthy control children (M age = 15 years) engaged in a conflict discussion task with a parent. Pulmonary function (FEV1) was measured before and immediately after the task. Airway inflammation (indicated by exhaled nitric oxide, FeNO) was measured before and 45 minutes after the task (to minimize effects from spirometry). Parents were interviewed about family socioeconomic status (SES: income and occupation). In children with asthma only, there was an inverse association of SES with change in FeNO levels in response to the conflict task, meaning that as SES declined, greater increases in FeNO were observed No changes in FEV1 were found in response to the conflict task. This study suggests that lower SES children with asthma may be more vulnerable to heightened airway inflammation in response to stress.
stress; exhaled nitric oxide; socioeconomic status; childhood asthma
Daily controller medication use is recommended for children with persistent asthma to achieve asthma control.
To examine patterns of inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) use and asthma control in an observational study of children and adolescents with mild-to-moderate asthma (the Childhood Asthma Management Program Continuation Study).
We assessed patterns of ICS use during a 12-month period (consistent, intermittent, and none) and asthma control (well controlled vs poorly controlled). Multivariate logistic regression examined the association between pattern of ICS use and asthma control.
Of 914 patients enrolled, 425 were recommended to continue receiving ICS therapy in the Childhood Asthma Management Program Continuation Study. Of these patients, 46% reported consistent ICS use and 20% reported no ICS use during year 1. By year 4, consistent ICS use decreased to 20%, whereas no ICS use increased to 57%; poorly controlled asthma was reported in 18% of encounters. In multivariate models controlling for age, sex, forced expiratory volume in 1 second, and asthma severity assessment, patients reporting consistent ICS use during a 12-month period were more likely to report poor asthma control (odds ratio, 1.6; 95% confidence interval, 1.2–2.1) compared with those reporting no ICS use.
In this observational study of children and adolescents with mild-to-moderate asthma, most did not report continued use of ICS. Patients recommended to continue receiving ICS therapy and reporting consistent ICS use were less likely to report well-controlled asthma even after controlling for markers of asthma severity. Although residual confounding by severity cannot be ruled out, many children and adolescents may not achieve well-controlled asthma despite consistent use of ICS.
Asthma exacerbations are a common cause of critical illness in children.
To determine factors associated with exacerbations in children with persistent asthma.
Regression modeling was used to identify historical, phenotypic, treatment, and time-dependent factors associated with the occurrence of exacerbations, defined by need for oral corticosteroids, emergency or hospital care in the 48-week Pediatric Asthma Controller Trial (PACT) study. Children aged 6–14 with mild to moderate persistent asthma were randomized to receive either fluticasone propionate 100 mcg BID (FP monotherapy), combination fluticasone 100 mcg AM and salmeterol BID, or montelukast 5 mg once daily.
Of the 285 participants randomized, 48% had 231 exacerbations. Using a multivariate analysis, which included numerous demographic, pulmonary, and inflammatory parameters, only a history of an asthma exacerbation requiring a systemic corticosteroid in the past year (odds ratio 2.10, p<0.001) was associated with a subsequent exacerbation during the trial. During the trial, treatment with montelukast vs. FP monotherapy (OR 2.00, p=0.005), season (spring, fall, or winter vs. summer, p=<0.001), and average seasonal 5% reduction in AM peak expiratory flow (PEF) (OR 1.21, p=0.01) were each associated with exacerbations. Changes in worsening of symptoms, beta-agonist use, and low PEF track together before an exacerbation, but have poor positive predictive value of exacerbation.
Children with mild to moderate persistent asthma with prior exacerbations are more likely to have a repeat exacerbation despite controller treatment. Inhaled corticosteroids are superior to montelukast at modifying the exacerbation risk. Available physiologic measures and biomarkers, and diary card tracking are not reliable predictors of asthma exacerbations.
Airway inflammation; Asthma; Bronchial hyperresponsiveness; Childhood asthma; Exacerbations
For children who have uncontrolled asthma despite the use of low-dose inhaled corticosteroids (ICS), evidence to guide step-up therapy is lacking.
We randomly assigned 182 children (6 to 17 years of age), who had uncontrolled asthma while receiving 100 µg of fluticasone twice daily, to receive each of three blinded step-up therapies in random order for 16 weeks: 250 µg of fluticasone twice daily (ICS step-up), 100 µg of fluticasone plus 50 µg of a long-acting beta-agonist twice daily (LABA step-up), or 100 µg of fluticasone twice daily plus 5 or 10 mg of a leukotriene-receptor antagonist daily (LTRA step-up). We used a triple-crossover design and a composite of three outcomes (exacerbations, asthma-control days, and the forced expiratory volume in 1 second) to determine whether the frequency of a differential response to the step-up regimens was more than 25%.
A differential response occurred in 161 of 165 patients who were evaluated (P<0.001). The response to LABA step-up therapy was most likely to be the best response, as compared with responses to LTRA step-up (relative probability, 1.6; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.1 to 2.3; P = 0.004) and ICS step-up (relative probability, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.2 to 2.4; P = 0.002). Higher scores on the Asthma Control Test before randomization (indicating better control at baseline) predicted a better response to LABA step-up (P = 0.009). White race predicted a better response to LABA step-up, whereas black patients were least likely to have a best response to LTRA step-up (P = 0.005).
Nearly all the children had a differential response to each step-up therapy. LABA step-up was significantly more likely to provide the best response than either ICS or LTRA step-up. However, many children had a best response to ICS or LTRA step-up therapy, highlighting the need to regularly monitor and appropriately adjust each child’s asthma therapy. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00395304.)
Among asthmatics, bronchodilator response (BDR) to inhaled ß2- adrenergic agonists is variable, and the significance of a consistent response over time is unknown.
We assessed baseline clinical variables and determined the clinical outcomes associated with a consistently positive BDR over 4 years in children with mild-moderate persistent asthma.
In the 1,041 participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP), subjects with a change in FEV1 of 12% or greater (and 200mLs) after inhaled ß2 agonist at each of their yearly follow-up visits (consistent BDR) were compared with those who did not have a consistent BDR.
We identified 52 children with consistent BDR over the 4-year trial. Multivariable logistic regression modeling demonstrated that baseline pre-bronchodilator FEV1 (OR=0.71, p<0.0001), log 10 IgE level (OR=1.97, p=0.002), and lack of treatment with inhaled corticosteroids (OR=0.31, p=0.009) were associated with a consistent BDR. Individuals who had a consistent BDR had more hospital visits (p=0.007), required more prednisone bursts (p=0.0007), had increased nocturnal awakenings due to asthma (p<0.0001), and missed more days of school (p=0.03) than non-responders during the 4-year follow-up.
We have identified predictors of consistent BDR and determined that this phenotype is associated with poor clinical outcomes.
asthma; consistent bronchodilator response; outcomes
Systemic corticosteroids are known to induce osteoporosis and increase the risk of fractures in adults and children. Inhaled corticosteroids have been shown to increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures in adults at risk. However, long-term prospective studies in children to assess risks of multiple short courses of oral corticosteroids and chronic inhaled corticosteroids have not been done. Thus, we assessed the effects of multiple short courses of oral corticosteroids and long-term inhaled corticosteroids on bone mineral accretion over a period of years.
Patients and Methods
This was a cohort followup study for a median of 7 years of children with mild to moderate asthma initially randomized into the Childhood Asthma Management Program (CAMP) trial. Serial dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scans of the lumbar spine for bone mineral density (BMD) were performed in all patients. Annual bone mineral accretion was calculated in 531 boys and 346 girls with asthma aged 5–12 years at baseline (84% of the initial cohort).
Oral corticosteroid bursts produced a dose-dependent reduction in bone mineral accretion (0.052, 0.049, and 0.046 gm/cm2/year, p=0.0002) and an increase in risk of osteopenia (10%, 14% and 21%, p=0.02) for 0, 1–4, and 5+ courses, respectively, in males but not females. Cumulative inhaled corticosteroid use was associated with a small decrease in bone mineral accretion in males (p=0.05) but not females, but no increased risk of osteopenia.
Multiple oral corticosteroid bursts over a period of years can produce a dose-dependent reduction in bone mineral accretion and increased risk of osteopenia in children with asthma. Inhaled corticosteroid use has the potential for reducing bone mineral accretion in male children progressing through puberty but this risk is likely to be outweighed by the ability to reduce the amount of oral corticosteroids used in these children.
Cohort study; bone mineral density; corticosteroids; asthma; children; osteopenia