Hong Kong Med J 2005;11:289-94 | Number 4, August 2005
Induced sputum in childhood asthma
AM Li, TWT Tsang, DFY Chan, RYT Sung, TF Fok
Department of Paediatrics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Shatin, Hong Kong
Asthma is characterised by variable degrees of airway obstruction, airway hyper-responsiveness, and chronic airway inflammation. Current guidelines emphasise that inhaled corticosteroid treatment is the mainstay of asthma therapy because it targets the underlying airway inflammation. It is prudent to use the lowest possible dose of inhaled corticosteroid compatible with good asthma control. In clinical practice, the use of or the reduction of inhaled corticosteroid dosage is based on symptoms and lung function, both of which have been shown to have a poor correlation with airway inflammation. The use of induced sputum as a marker of airway inflammation improves asthma monitoring and optimises treatment in adults. This review discusses the technique of sputum induction, its clinical application, and our experience of its use in asthmatic children.
Key words: Asthma; Child; Eosinophils; Sputum
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