Asthma control test and peak expiratory flow rate: independent pediatric asthma management tools

M Chan, S Sitaraman, A Dosanjh
Journal of Asthma 2009, 46 (10): 1042-4

BACKGROUND: Management of asthma reflects the complexity of the pathogenesis. According to current National Heart Lung Blood Institute (NHLBI) guidelines, asthma control can be assessed using the validated asthma control test, measures of airway function, and overall assessment of risk and quality of life. We hypothesized that the asthma control test and measures of airway function are independent tools in asthma management. We also studied whether the presence of nasal symptoms is correlated to these measures.

METHODS: Serial visits (n = 45) to a pediatric respiratory clinic in an underserved area of San Diego County with a predominantly Hispanic population were reviewed. Patients were included if they were able to perform airway function tests and had more than one provider visit. Patients with other major diseases were excluded. We determined whether uncontrolled asthmatics, defined as an Asthma Control test (ACT) score of 19 or less, had lower % predicted peak expiratory flow Measurements as a group compared to those with higher scores. In addition, the individual ACT and airway function results were analyzed. Patients with and without nasal symptoms at the time of presentation were sub-analyzed to determine differences in ACT and peak flow measurements.

RESULTS: Based on n = 45 physician visits, the mean ACT score was 21 +/- 3.3 (range 12-25) and the mean peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR) was 87.4% +/- 11 (range 65-109%). Patients with ACT scores < or = to 19 or lower (< or = 90%) PEFRs were determined not to have more nasal symptoms. The measures of ACT and peak expiratory flow were independent and not correlated.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that ACT and PEFR are distinct parameters used to manage patients in a pediatric outreach asthma clinic.

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