Trend in asthma severity in steroid naive asthmatic children in Benin city, Nigeria
Background: Asthma imposes heavy health burden on children and families worldwide. It is a chronic inflammatory airway disease and as such, treatment of the asthmatics is aimed at relieve of bronchoconstriction and inflammation. Until about a decade ago, emphasis was on the bronchoconstriction rather than the inflammation.
Objective: To determine the trend in severity of asthma in steroid naive children, in an era when steroid use in the treatment of asthma was uncommon.
Materials and Methods: Case notes of patients managed for asthma from 1985 to 1995 and age 5 - 16 years were retrieved and reviewed (these case notes are usually stored in Prof. O. Oviawe’s office). Information extracted included age of onset of asthma, severity of asthma and drug medication at presentation and at 1 year. The GINA Guideline (2006) was used in classifying the asthma severity.
Results: A total of 77 patients satisfied the criteria for the study. Of these, 53 were males and 24 females. Males: Female ratio was 2.3:1; age range 5 - 16 years; mean age ± SD (8.5 ± 3.13 years). At presentation, 48 (62.3%) patient had intermittent, 29 (37.7%) had persistent asthma, of these, 25 (86.2%) had mild persistent and 4 (13.8%) had moderate persistent. None had severe persistent asthma. At 1 year follow‑up, 29 (37.7%) now had intermittent asthma, while 44 (57.1%) had persistent asthma, of these, 23 (52.3%) had mild persistent, 20 (45.5%) had moderate persistent, while 1 (2.3%) had severe persistent. Medication therapy was β2‑agonist in 72 (93.5%) patients.
Conclusion: The study supports progressive pathologic process possibly inflammatory in origin. It is opined that steroid naivity led to the trend seen in this study and judicious use of corticosteroids would have arrested the trend.
Key words: Asthma, inflammatory, severity, steroid use, trend