Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma have been published over the last 15 years; however, there has been little focus on issues relating to asthma in childhood. Since the last revision of the 1999 Canadian Asthma Consensus Report, important new studies, particularly in children, have highlighted the need to incorporate new information into the asthma guidelines. The objectives of this article are to review the literature on asthma published between January 2000 and June 2003 and to evaluate the influence of new evidence on the recommendations made in the 1999 Canadian Asthma Consensus Report and its 2001 update, with a major focus on pediatric issues.
The diagnosis of asthma in young children and prevention strategies, pharmacotherapy, inhalation devices, immunotherapy, and asthma education were selected for review by small expert resource groups. The reviews were discussed in June 2003 at a meeting under the auspices of the Canadian Network For Asthma Care and the Canadian Thoracic Society. Data published through December 2004 were subsequently reviewed by the individual expert resource groups.
This report evaluates early-life prevention strategies and focuses on treatment of asthma in children, emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and preventive therapy, the benefits of additional therapy, and the essential role of asthma education.
We generally support previous recommendations and focus on new issues, particularly those relevant to children and their families. This document is a guide for asthma management based on the best available published data and the opinion of health care professionals, including asthma experts and educators.