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Dr. Mehraj Fatima* and Dr. Ramesh Ganpisetti


Background & objectives: Spirometry plays an important role in the assessment and long term monitoring of patients with asthma. Difficulty in performing spirometry in children has resulted in a paucity of Indian studies using spirometry regularly for research in the paediatric population. This study was undertaken to assess the clinical improvement and changes in spirometric measurements with treatment in children with newly diagnosed asthma and to compare the changes in the symptom score and spirometric measurements. Methods: This prospective study included 34 children between 6 to 12 yr of age (enrolled over a period of one year with follow up of six months) who were newly diagnosed as cases of asthma on the basis of symptoms and medical history. Baseline symptom score and spirometric measurements were determined at the first visit. The children were treated and followed up at five weeks, three and six months of initiating treatment. Symptom score and spirometric measurements were repeated at every visit. Results: Significant improvement in symptom score was evident at five weeks of therapy while the lung function parameters FEV1 (forced expiratory volume in 1 second) and FVC (forced vital capacity) showed significant improvement at three months of therapy. Peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) was found to improve at six months. There was a positive linear correlation between the changes in symptom score and FEV1, FVC and PEFR with treatment. Interpretation & conclusions: Symptomatic improvement became apparent before the improvement in spirometric parameters in children with asthma (after treatment initiation).

Keywords: Airways - asthma - children - GINA guidelines - paediatric - pulmonary functions - spirometry - symptom score.

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