Multiple Breath Washout for Diagnosing Asthma and Persistent Wheeze in Young Children

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Lambang Arianto, Henrik Hallas, Jakob Stokholm, Klaus Bønnelykke, Hans Bisgaard, Bo L Chawes

Rationale: There is an unmet need for sensitive lung function tests for young children to aid in the diagnosis of asthma and wheezy disorders. We hypothesized that multiple breath washout (MBW) could be a valuable tool for such a purpose. Objectives: To compare the ability of MBW lung clearance index with traditional lung function measurements to discriminate between preschool children with well-controlled asthma/persistent wheeze and healthy children. Methods: We investigated 646 children from the COPSAC2010 (Copenhagen Prospective Studies on Asthma in Childhood 2010) mother-child cohort, who completed MBW testing with nitrogen, spirometry, and plethysmography before age 6 years. Asthma/persistent wheeze was prospectively diagnosed according to a validated symptom-based algorithm at the COPSAC clinic. Student's t tests and receiver operating characteristic curves were applied to analyze the discriminative ability of the lung function indices. Results: A total of 144 (22.3%) children were diagnosed with asthma/persistent wheeze during their first 6 years of life. Lung clearance index from MBW was not significantly different in children with versus those without asthma/persistent wheeze (mean standard deviation [SD] = 6.96 [1.14] vs. 6.95 [0.93], mean difference [95% confidence interval] = 0.02 [-0.18 to 0.22], P = 0.86, area under the curve [AUC] = 0.48), whereas significant differences were observed for specific airway resistance from plethysmography (1.21 kPa/s [0.31] vs. 1.14 kPa/s [0.25]; +0.07 kPa/s [0.02-0.13]; P < 0.01; AUC = 0.56) and spirometry forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) % predicted (99.4% [12.0] vs. 102.6% [12.5]; -3.2% [-5.6 to -0.9]; P < 0.01; AUC = 0.56) and forced expiratory flow at 25-75% (1.55 L/s [0.44] vs. 1.68 L/s [0.46]; -0.14 L/s [-0.22 to -0.05]; P < 0.01; AUC = 0.58). FEV1 (L/s) and FEV1/forced vital capacity ratio were not significantly different (P > 0.4). Conclusions: MBW, spirometry, and plethysmography are not sensitive tools for diagnosing mild asthmatic disease in young children.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Thoracic Society. Annals (Print)
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)599-605
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ID: 218721433