Methods: We evaluated 1500 children aged 0-5 years (31% <1 year) with asthma exacerbation who failed to be controlled by conventional drug therapy. The children were treated with inhaled corticosteroids using three protocols according to the severity of their exacerbation: inhalers, inhalation, or inhalation + azithromycin.
Results: The sex ratio, asthma in the family, emergency department visits, hospitalization, duration of asthma symptoms, and usage of beta2-agonists or oral corticosteroids were similar in infants and older children. All treated children had a history of prolonged cough and were coughing during their first visit, but only 45% had also wheezing. During the follow-up period there was, for the entire cohort, a 99% reduction in the number of emergency department visits, 93% fewer hospitalizations, and 100% reduction in oral corticosteroid usage. The vast majority of treated children (88%) showed good response to treatment, with similar responses in infants and in older children. No significant differences were found between children with prolonged cough, with or without wheezing.
Conclusions: The data presented indicates that asthma exists also in infants. Asthmatic infants with or without wheezing, have a similar history, signs and symptoms as older children do, and respond well, similarly to treatment with inhaled corticosteroids.