Impact of innate and environmental factors on wheezing persistence during childhood.
ABSTRACT Persistent asthma in adults starts often early in childhood and is associated with alterations in respiratory function that occur early in life.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the importance of innate and environmental factors associated with occurrence of asthma during childhood in a population of recurrent wheezing infants followed prospectively.
A cohort of infants less than 30 months old with recurrent wheezing was established in order to assess severity of respiratory symptoms and to look for the presence of atopy and environmental risk factors. At the age of 6 years, they were reevaluated with respect to remission or persistence of wheezing over the previous 12-month period.
Data were available for 219 subjects aged 15 +/- 5 months. In 27% of the infants with recurrent wheeze, wheezing persisted until the age of 6 years. In multivariate analysis, stepwise logit analysis showed that the risk factors for persistent wheezing are eosinophilia >or=470/mm(3), allergenic sensitization, and a father with asthma. Environmental factors present during the first year of life that protect from persistence of wheezing are ( 1 ) breastfeeding for longer than 3 months, ( 2 ) pets at home, and ( 3 ) >or=3 siblings. The detection rate for persistent wheezing in this model is 72%. The persistence score showed good specificity 91% but low sensitivity 35%.
This study confirms the role of atopic host factors on wheezing persistence during childhood and detected protective environmental factors.