Problems and possibilities in understanding the natural history of asthma

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2000 Sep;106(3 Suppl):S144-52. doi: 10.1067/mai.2000.109420.


In early life, asthma symptoms can occur intermittently or may not be severe enough to limit normal activities, which makes it difficult for the clinician to make reliable predictions and administer therapy with some precision. In the case of pediatric asthma, the identification of children who will experience the development of a clinically important illness that will impair their quality of life can be a complex process. The usual methods for describing this information include the prognostic statistics of sensitivity, specificity, likelihood ratio, and positive predictive value. The sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratio of various early markers of asthma have been calculated from several cohort studies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity