Monitoring asthma in childhood: management-related issues
Rottier BL., Eber E., Hedlin G., Turner S., Wooler E., Mantzourani E., Kulkarni N.
<jats:p>Management-related issues are an important aspect of monitoring asthma in children in clinical practice. This review summarises the literature on practical aspects of monitoring including adherence to treatment, inhalation technique, ongoing exposure to allergens and irritants, comorbid conditions and side-effects of treatment, as agreed by the European Respiratory Society Task Force on Monitoring Asthma in Childhood.</jats:p><jats:p>The evidence indicates that it is important to discuss adherence to treatment in a non-confrontational way at every clinic visit, and take into account a patient's illness and medication beliefs. All task force members teach inhalation techniques at least twice when introducing a new inhalation device and then at least annually. Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, combustion-derived air pollutants, house dust mites, fungal spores, pollens and pet dander deserve regular attention during follow-up according to most task force members. In addition, allergic rhinitis should be considered as a cause for poor asthma control. Task force members do not screen for gastro-oesophageal reflux and food allergy. Height and weight are generally measured at least annually to identify individuals who are susceptible to adrenal suppression and to calculate body mass index, even though causality between obesity and asthma has not been established.</jats:p><jats:p>In cases of poor asthma control, before stepping up treatment the above aspects of monitoring deserve closer attention.</jats:p>