It is difficult to distinguish at preschool age whether a wheezing child will or will not have asthma at school age. A prediction rule for asthma in preschool children might help to determine a prognosis and to study improvements in treatment and prevention. This review discusses (1) the development and use of clinical prediction rules, (2) the European Respiratory Society Task Force classification of wheeze at preschool age, (3) published prediction rules developed to identify preschool children who will have asthma at school age, and (4) recommendations to improve asthma prediction. Prediction rules are currently created more frequently, yet their clinical use remains low. The classification of episodic wheeze and multiple-trigger wheeze in preschool children shows conflicting results as to whether episodic wheeze and multiple-trigger wheeze differ in clinical features and has limited value in predicting asthma at school age. Clearly, more studies are needed to confirm this. Currently available prediction rules aiming to identify preschool children having asthma at school age are of modest clinical value. Prediction can be improved by more precise definitions and measures and, ultimately, by more knowledge of pathophysiologic mechanisms. In the future, biomarkers and genomic risk profiles to develop personalized medicine might further improve asthma prediction, treatment, and prevention.
Copyright © 2012. Published by Mosby, Inc.