Viral Detection May Lead to Asthma Treatment Failure in Pediatric Patients

Preschool-aged children who suffer a viral-triggered asthma attack have an increased chance of treatment failure.

A recent study found that viral detection, rather than age, determined the lack of response to asthma treatment in young children.

A 2009 study suggested that preschool aged children did not respond to the standard treatment for viral-triggered asthma attacks because of their age. This population makes up a majority of asthma-related hospitalizations, so findings from this study were significant.

In the current study, published by The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, scientists found that age was not a factor, while a respiratory viral infection or fever is more frequently linked to treatment failure. Viral-triggered attacks are associated with treatment failure, such as high hospitalization rates, emergency department visits, and slow recovery.

The scientists found that 67% of preschool-aged children had a viral infection, compared with 46% of older children. Findings still suggest that the standard treatment can be effective in preschool-aged children.

However, the treatment needs to be adjusted to match the severity of the attack and administered early, according to the study.

In the hospital, the management of pediatric inpatients with asthma varies greatly in regard to costs, length of stay, and time spent in the intensive care unit, especially when accounting for a viral infection.

“With the new school upon us and September being the busiest month of the year for emergency room visits for asthma attacks, the good news for parents is that standard treatment works well for the majority of children, regardless of their age,” said lead researcher Francine Ducharme.