Recurrent wheeze in children with Down syndrome: is it asthma?

Acta Paediatr. 2011 Nov;100(11):e194-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2011.02367.x. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


Aim: To compare the prevalence of current wheeze in children with Down syndrome (DS), their siblings, and nonrelated population controls.

Methods: This was a case-control study in which the International Study of Asthma and Allergy in Childhood questionnaire for respiratory symptoms was completed by parents for 130 children with DS, 167 of their siblings, and for 119 age- and sex-matched control subjects from the general population.

Results: Both wheeze ever and wheeze during the last 12 months was more commonly reported in DS than in their siblings or controls. The relative risk (RR) of current wheeze in DS was 2.8 (95% CI, 1.42-5.51) compared with siblings, and 2.75 (95% CI, 1.28-5.88) compared with controls. A doctor's diagnosis of asthma was found in 3.1% in children with DS, in 4.2% in siblings and in 6.7% in controls. During 4-years follow-up, the diagnosis of asthma could not be confirmed in the 24 DS children with current wheeze, and atopy was found in none of them.

Conclusion: Wheeze is common in children with DS. This is likely to be related to the factors specific for DS and probably unrelated to asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comorbidity
  • Down Syndrome / complications*
  • Down Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Down Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / epidemiology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Prevalence
  • Respiratory Sounds / diagnosis
  • Respiratory Sounds / etiology*
  • Respiratory Sounds / physiopathology
  • Rhinitis / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors
  • Siblings