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Certain sociodemographic, environmental, and clinical factors predict asthma severity in children

Black or Puerto Rican ethnicity, sensitization to cockroach allergen, and spirometry tests showing reduced pulmonary function can predict asthma severity in children, according to a study supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS11147). These factors increased the likelihood of severe asthma three to four times in children, 4 to 18 years of age, who were enrolled in the Easy Breathing© asthma care program in Hartford, CT.

This is the first study to show an association between asthma severity and both Puerto Rican ethnicity and decreased forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC). FEV1/FVC is the most sensitive parameter for detecting mild airflow obstruction, but it is rarely used in clinical trials or severity scores to predict asthma severity. Yet in this study, FEV1/FVC was significantly decreased in children with severe versus mild asthma (81 vs. 87 percent, respectively).

More details are in "Predictors of disease severity in children with asthma in Hartford, Connecticut," by Clare D. Ramsey, M.S., M.D., Juan C. Celedon, M.D., Ph.D., Diane L. Sredl, M.P.H., Scott T. Weiss, M.D., M.S., and Michelle M. Cloutier, M.D., in the March 2005 Pediatric Pulmonology 39, pp. 268-275.

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