Methods: A total of 632 children aged 0 to 3 with recurrent wheezing episodes were recruited in 2004 to 2006. Information including family history, environmental factors, wheezing symptoms and treatment were collected by annual questionnaires. Among the 545 children with adequate baseline information, we analyzed the 433 children followed up at 7 to 8 years old. Asthma at 7 to 8 years old was defined as having wheeze or the regular use of asthma controller medication in the past 12 months.
Results: Of the analyzed 433 children, 299 (69.1%) were boys and 350 (80.8%) children were on treatment of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) or leukotriene receptor antagonists at recruitment. At 7 to 8 years of age, 276 (63.7%) had asthma. Multivariate regression analysis showed that low birth weight, personal history of atopic dermatitis and food allergy at baseline, parental allergic rhinitis or pollinosis, the use of ICS at baseline were significantly associated with asthma at age 7 to 8 (each p<0.05).
Conclusions: Predisposition to atopy was a significant risk factor for asthma at school age in early childhood wheezers, similar to previous studies. Children with the early use of ICS had a high risk of asthma at school age in our study population, probably due to the initial severity.