Author(s): Saglani S, Nicholson AG, Scallan M, BalfourLynn I, Rosenthal M,
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Abstract The management of young children with severe recurrent wheeze is difficult because symptoms are often refractory to conventional asthma therapy and other diagnoses must be excluded. The present authors aimed to evaluate the outcome of detailed, invasive investigations in such patients. Children aged between 3 months and 5 yrs with severe recurrent wheezing, who had been referred to a tertiary centre, underwent a protocol of investigations including a chest computed tomography scan, blood tests, nasal ciliary brushings, fibreoptic bronchoscopy, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), endobronchial biopsy and passage of an oesophageal pH probe. A total of 47 children (25 males) with a median age of 26 (range 5-58) months underwent investigation. Of these, 39\% were atopic, two-thirds had evidence of gastro-oesophageal reflux and 37 out of 47 had an abnormal bronchoscopy. Findings included structural abnormalities (13 out of 37), excessive mucus (20 out of 37) and macroscopic inflammation (10 out of 37). BAL revealed bacterial growth in 12 out of 44 (27\%) patients. Good quality endobronchial biopsies were obtained from 36 out of 46 (78\%) patients; of these, 44\% had tissue eosinophilia and 28\% had a thickened reticular basement membrane. Additional investigations (including bronchoscopy) in young children with severe wheeze may help to identify positive diagnoses and provide information to support a clinical diagnosis of asthma. This hypothesis-generating work should form the basis of future interventional studies.
This article was published in Eur Respir J
and referenced in Journal of Allergy & Therapy