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Risk of asthma in children diagnosed with bronchiolitis during infancy: protocol of a longitudinal cohort study linking emergency department-based clinical data to provincial health administrative databases

Abdullah K, Fell DB, Radhakrishnan D, Hawken S, Johnson DW, Mandhane P, To T, Joubert G, Plint AC; for Pediatric Emergency Research Canada. BMJ Open. 2021; 11(5):e048823. Epub 2021 May 3. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2021-048823


Introduction — The Canadian Bronchiolitis Epinephrine Steroid Trial (CanBEST) and the Bronchiolitis Severity Cohort (BSC) study enrolled infants with bronchiolitis during the first year of life. The CanBEST trial suggested that treatment of infants with a combined therapy of high-dose corticosteroids and nebulised epinephrine reduced the risk of admission to hospital. Our study aims to-(1) quantify the risk of developing asthma by age 5 and 10 years in children treated with high-dose corticosteroid and epinephrine for bronchiolitis during infancy, (2) identify risk factors associated with development of asthma in children with bronchiolitis during infancy, (3) develop asthma prediction models for children diagnosed with bronchiolitis during infancy.

Methods and Analysis — We propose a longitudinal cohort study in which we will link data from the CanBEST and BSC study with routinely collected data from provincial health administrative databases. Our outcome is asthma incidence measured using a validated health administrative data algorithm. Primary exposure will be treatment with a combined therapy of high-dose corticosteroids and nebulised epinephrine for bronchiolitis. Covariates will include type of viral pathogen, disease severity, medication use, maternal, prenatal, postnatal and demographic factors and variables related to health service utilisation for acute lower respiratory tract infection. The risk associated with development of asthma in children treated with high-dose corticosteroid and epinephrine for bronchiolitis will be assessed using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression models. Prediction models will be developed using multivariable logistic regression analysis and internally validated using a bootstrap approach.

Ethics and Dissemination — Our study has been approved by the ethics board of all four participating sites of the CanBEST and BSC study. Finding of the study will be disseminated to the academic community and relevant stakeholders through conferences and peer-reviewed publications.

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