Background: The inflammatory phenotypes of severe asthma in adults may be reflected in peripheral blood. If this were true in children with severe therapy-resistant asthma (STRA), invasive tests could be avoided. At the moment there is no conclusive evidence in children.
Methods: All patients underwent blood tests, exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), sputum induction, bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and endobronchial biopsy (EB).
Results: Sixty-three (71.6%) patients had a normal blood profile and only 1/88 had a combined blood eosinophilia and neutrophilia. 76/88 (86%) had normal blood eosinophils, but of these, 84% had airway eosinophilia in either BAL (n = 43;66%) or EB (n = 41;79%). In children with STRA blood eosinophilia was associated with airway eosinophilia. However, normal blood eosinophil levels did not exclude airway eosinophilic inflammation.
Conclusions: Peripheral blood counts are not reliable in characterising airway inflammation in severe asthmatic children exposed to high dose steroid therapy, therefore bronchoscopy with BAL should be considered.
© 2013 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.