Asthma affects an estimated 7 million children and causes significant health care and disease burden. The most recent iteration of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute asthma guidelines, the Expert Panel Report 3, emphasizes the assessment and monitoring of asthma control in the management of asthma. Asthma control refers to the degree to which the manifestations of asthma are minimized by therapeutic interventions and the goals of therapy are met. Although assessment of asthma severity is used to guide initiation of therapy, monitoring of asthma control helps determine whether therapy should be maintained or adjusted. The nuances of estimation of asthma control include understanding concepts of current impairment and future risk and incorporating their measurement into clinical practice. Impairment is assessed on the basis of frequency and intensity of symptoms, variations in lung function, and limitations of daily activities. “Risk” refers to the likelihood of exacerbations, progressive loss of lung function, or adverse effects from medications. Currently available ambulatory tools to measure asthma control range are subjective measures, such as patient-reported composite asthma control score instruments or objective measures of lung function, airway hyperreactivity, and biomarkers. Because asthma control exhibits short- and long-term variability, health care providers need to be vigilant regarding the fluctuations in the factors that can create discordance between subjective and objective assessment of asthma control. Familiarity with the properties, application, and relative value of these measures will enable health care providers to choose the optimal set of measures that will adhere to national standards of care and ensure delivery of high-quality care customized to their patients.
- Copyright © 2017 by the American Academy of Pediatrics