Childhood Asthma

  • Sy Duong-QuyEmail author
  • Krista Todoric
Living reference work entry


Asthma is the most common chronic respiratory disease in childhood. Although much progress has been made in the last decades in understanding the pathophysiology and management of asthma, the diagnosis and treatment of early childhood asthma remain great challenges. Due to the heterogeneity of asthma symptoms in childhood, it has been difficult to establish a clear and coherent definition of asthma in this population. Currently, in older children, the diagnosis of asthma is made similarly to that in adults and is based on chronic inflammation associated with airway hyper-responsiveness and reversible airflow limitation. However, the use of exhaled nitric oxide, bronchial challenge testing, and spirometry are often not feasible or reliable in younger children. In young children, the diagnosis of asthma is mostly based on symptom history, risk of allergic disease, and physical findings in the absence of respiratory tract infections. In all age groups, current asthma management guidelines focus on a stepwise approach to symptom and risk control while addressing comorbidities and other modifiable risk factors such as inhaler technique, treatment adherence, and environmental exposures. Asthma remains the leading cause of childhood morbidity from chronic disease as measured by rates of emergency department visits, length of hospitalization, and unscheduled school absences. Therefore, ongoing advances in the understanding of childhood asthma, the factors contributing to its development (both genetic and environmental), preventative strategies addressing these risks, and novel treatment options will continue to be crucial clinical considerations in the years to come.


Asthma Childhood asthma Risk factors Asthma treatment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Respiratory and Lung Functional Exploration Department, Cochin HospitalParis Descartes UniversityParisFrance
  2. 2.Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care MedicinePenn State Health. Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Pennsylvania State University College of MedicineHersheyUSA
  3. 3.Penn State Hershey Allergy, Asthma & ImmunologyHersheyUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Dennis K. Ledford
    • 1
  • Timothy Craig
    • 2
  1. 1.Division of Allergy & Immunology, Dept. of Internal MedicineUniversity of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, James A Haley Veterans' Hospital, Asthma and Immunology Associates of Tampa BayTampaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Medicine and PediatricsPenn State College of MedicineHersheyUSA

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