Validation of a questionnaire for asthma case identification in pre-schools in Latin America

Respirology. 2015 Aug;20(6):912-6. doi: 10.1111/resp.12575. Epub 2015 Jun 24.


Background and objective: We recently developed and validated a screening questionnaire for determining which school-aged children may need further investigation to diagnose and manage asthma. In the present study we sought to extend this to pre-school aged children.

Methods: Questions from the school-aged questionnaire and literature on pre-school asthma were used to inform a focus group of parents with pre-school-aged children with asthma to develop a screening questionnaire. Parents of children attending 6 randomly selected kindergartens in Trelew, Argentina (n = 639) were invited to respond to the questionnaire. A reliability test-retest was undertaken in 187 randomly selected parents who completed the same questionnaire twice within 2-5 weeks. Clinical assessment included a standardized history and physical examination, spirometry before and after a β-agonist inhaler, and chest X-ray. Asthma was diagnosed by the pulmonologist.

Results: Completed surveys were returned for 620 children, 607 of whom underwent clinical evaluation. The mean age was 4.21 years (range of 3.01-5.50) and included 82.5% white and 49.4% male children. Asthma was diagnosed in 103 (17.0%) children); 72 (69.9%) of these children did not have a previous diagnosis of asthma. The specificity, sensitivity, positive predictive value and negative predictive value of the questionnaire were 93.2%, 86.1%, 57.8% and 98.4%, respectively.

Conclusions: We have demonstrated the utility of a screening questionnaire for identifying pre-school-aged children who may benefit from further assessment for asthma.

Keywords: asthma; case-identification; children; diagnosis; screening.

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Parents
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • School Health Services
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Spirometry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*