van Gent R, de Meer G, Rovers MM, Kimpen JL, van der Ent CK, van Essen LE. Arch Dis Child. 2008;93(3):236–238
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY. To assess the willingness of parents of children with possible asthma to visit their general practitioner (GP).
STUDY POPULATION. A cross-sectional group of 130 Dutch children aged 7 to 10 years with possible asthma were studied.
METHODS. Participating parents completed the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood questionnaire. A child was considered to have “diagnosed asthma” if a doctor had diagnosed him or her with asthma in the preceding 12 months. A child was considered to have “possible asthma” if the child had (1) no physician-diagnosed asthma in the preceding 12 months, (2) asthma symptoms in the preceding 12 months, and (3) either reversible airway obstruction or bronchial hyperreactivity. Parents of children with possible asthma were sent a letter recommending further medical evaluation by their GP. The GP received a letter with the results of the questionnaire and lung-function tests. A research nurse contacted parents to conduct a telephone interview regarding adherence to recommendations.
RESULTS. A total of 2745 children were invited to participate in the study, and 1758 children participated. Eighty-one (5%) children were diagnosed with asthma and 130 (8%) had a possible diagnosis of asthma, which represented the study population. A follow-up interview was completed for 114 children (88%). Sixty-two percent of the children visited a doctor, and 38% of the parents refused to visit the GP. The main reason for parents not visiting a GP was absence or mildness of symptoms. Most of the parents stated that they would visit a GP if symptoms worsened.
CONCLUSIONS. Two thirds of the children with undiagnosed asthma visited their GP. Willingness to follow-up the recommendations was greater for children with more severe airway reversibility and if the mother was less well educated.
REVIEWER COMMENTS. Asthma screening in children relies on parental recognition of asthma symptoms. The authors pointed out that parents often underrecognize symptoms of asthma in their child. However, when confronted with information of a possible asthma diagnosis, the majority of parents sought advice from their GP. Asthma screening programs can be a useful tool for helping children with undiagnosed asthma to seek professional care.
- Copyright © 2008 by the American Academy of Pediatrics