Clinical, functional, and epidemiological differences between atopic and nonatopic asthmatic children from a tertiary care hospital in a developing country

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Abstract

Background:

Differences between children with atopic asthma (AA) and nonatopic asthma (non-AA) have been shown in epidemiologic studies. In developing countries, even when non-AA is more prevalent than AA among schoolchildren, no data are available regarding clinical, functional, and epidemiological differences between these 2 groups.

Objective:

To evaluate differences between Chilean children with AA and non-AA.

Methods:

In this cross-sectional study, skin prick tests were performed on all patients (age range, 4–14 years) admitted to our tertiary care hospital with the diagnosis of asthma who were consequently classified as having AA or non-AA. Demographic characteristics, spirometry results, exercise bronchial challenge test results, and eosinophil counts measured in the last 12 months were recorded.

Results:

Among the 237 asthmatic children, 62.5% had AA. Non-AA children had a significantly earlier onset of asthma and a more frequent history of pneumonia and tobacco consumption at home. Children with AA had higher nasal eosinophilia levels and a higher prevalence of dermatitis and severe exacerbation episodes of asthma in the past year (emergency department consultation and oral corticosteroids courses). Lung function was similar in both groups. After the multivariate analysis, only the number of oral steroid courses was significantly different between the groups and was associated with AA.

Conclusions:

In this selected population of asthmatic schoolchildren, the prevalence of non-AA (37.6%) is not negligible, and some differences between AA and non-AA children exist.

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