, Volume 184, Issue 2, pp 73-79

Relationship Among Pulmonary Function, Bronchial Hyperresponsiveness, and Atopy in Children with Clinically Stable Asthma

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Pulmonary function testing plays a key role in the diagnosis and management of asthma in children. However, the literature does not clearly show whether children with clinically stable asthma have significantly reduced lung function when compared with normal children. We compared the lung function of 242 clinically stable asthmatic children who were initially diagnosed with mild intermittent or mild persistent asthma with the lung function of 100 nonasthmatic controls. The lung function was assessed using FEV1, FEV1/FVC, FEF25–75 and PEF. In addition, we measured bronchial hyperresponsiveness (BHR) using the provocation concentration of methacholine needed to produce a 20% fall in FEV1. All measures of pulmonary function were significantly decreased in the children with asthma. Pulmonary function was not influenced by atopy, serum IgE, or total eosinophil count (TEC). However, the likelihood ratio for trends revealed a significant association between our pulmonary parameters and the degree of BHR. Children with mild-to-severe BHR had greatly decreased lung function compared with those with normal BHR, the control group. In addition, a direct correlation was found between PC20 and our pulmonary parameters in asthmatic children. However, only atopic children with asthma had a significant correlation between PC20 and TEC. We found children with clinically stable asthma to have pulmonary obstruction, which associated strongly with their degree of BHR.