What are the diagnostic criteria for pediatric asthma?

Updated: Jan 08, 2019
  • Author: Girish D Sharma, MD, FCCP, FAAP; Chief Editor: Kenan Haver, MD  more...
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Answer

Guidelines from the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, which were updated in 2007, highlight the importance of correctly diagnosing asthma. [2] To establish the diagnosis of asthma, the clinician must confirm the following:

  • Episodic symptoms of airflow obstruction are present

  • Airflow obstruction or symptoms are at least partially reversible

  • Alternative diagnoses are excluded

Thus, obtaining a good patient history is crucial when diagnosing asthma and excluding other causes.

The clinician should establish whether the patient has any of the following symptoms:

  • Wheezing

  • Cough

  • Cough at night

  • Cough during or after exercise

  • Shortness of breath

  • Chest tightness

  • Sputum production

The clinician should determine the pattern of symptoms, as follows:

  • Perennial, seasonal, or both

  • Continuous or intermittent

  • Daytime or nighttime

  • Onset and duration


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