Infant Lung Function May Predict Childhood Asthma
Although reduced lung function is associated with later risk, screening tests not seen as warranted
WEDNESDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Newborns with reduced lung function may have an increased risk of developing asthma by age 10, according to a study published in the Oct. 19 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Geir Haland, M.D., of Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo, Norway, and colleagues conducted lung-function tests in 802 Norwegian infants shortly after birth and reassessed 616 (77 percent) of them at age 10.
The researchers found that children whose fraction of peak tidal expiratory flow to total expiratory time was at or below the median at birth were more likely at age 10 to have a history of asthma (24.3 percent versus 16.2 percent) and current asthma (14.6 percent versus 7.5 percent) compared to children whose fraction of peak tidal expiratory flow to total expiratory time was above the median at birth.
"It is important to note that the clinical implications of reduced lung function shortly after birth on an individual level are unclear," the authors write. "Variations of lung function between persons as well as within an individual person a few days after birth are well recognized, and our results indicate that these lung-function measures have low positive predictive value for later asthma. Thus, our data would not support the use of such measures as screening tests for the risk of subsequent asthma."