■ Airway inflammation is universal to all asthmatics and the degree of the inflammation corresponds to the severity of disease. Bronchoconstriction plays a limited role in the etiology of asthma (moderate evidence).
■ There has been a sharp rise in the prevalence, morbidity, mortality, and economic burden both within the United States and globally over the past 40 years, particularly in children (moderate evidence).
■ Despite the considerable knowledge with regard to the pathology of asthma, the costs of asthma represent a large burden to society, both nationally and internationally (moderate evidence).
■ The majority of patients presenting with asthma can be diagnosed clinically by medical history and physical examination; the need for chest radiographs in acute asthma is limited to a minority of patients (limited to moderate evidence).
■ Pulmonary function testing underestimates the degree of bronchial inflammation and may be insufficient for surveillance criteria (limited evidence).
■ No data were found in the medical literature that evaluate the cost-effectiveness of imaging in asthma (insufficient evidence).
■ The value of the chest radiograph should be to diagnose complications, to establish a precipitating cause for an asthmatic attack, and to exclude alternate diagnoses that resemble asthma (moderate evidence).
■ High-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) is a non-invasive technique capable of demonstrating and quantifying both the anatomic and physiologic changes in the lungs of asthmatic patients (moderate evidence).
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. Expert Panel Report 2: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. National Institutes of Health Publication No. 97-4051. Bethesda, MD, 1997.Google Scholar
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program. Expert Panel Report: Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. National Institutes of Health Publication No. 91-3642. Bethesda, MD, 1991.Google Scholar