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International differences in asthma guidelines for children


Background — Over the last decade, a number of clinical practice guidelines that include guidance for the management of pediatric asthma have been introduced. The consistency across pediatric asthma guidelines is unknown and the emphasis on establishing asthma control may vary. The objective of this paper was to depict the evolution of guidelines for pediatric asthma and to compare current international guidelines in terms of their organization, presentation of evidence and consideration of children, with special emphasis on definitions of asthma control and severity.

Methods — A systematic search to identify asthma guidelines was conducted, and guidelines were searched for pediatric terms. The approaches used by guidelines to define assessments of asthma severity and control were compared between the United States, the Global Initiative for Asthma, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Results — Pediatric considerations in the management of asthma have been integrated into the various guidelines to different degrees and through varied strategies. There were differences in the conceptual and operational approach used to assess asthma which emphasized either asthma severity or control.

Conclusions — It will be important for future guidelines to clearly define whether the primary assessment parameter is asthma severity or control. Delineating the guideline development process and supporting evidence may improve transparency, consistency and guideline adherence.



Cope SF, Ungar WJ, Glazier RH. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2009; 148(4):265-78. Epub 2008 Nov 11.

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Contributing ICES Scientists