Predicting asthma control deterioration in children

BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2015 Oct 14:15:84. doi: 10.1186/s12911-015-0208-9.


Background: Pediatric asthma affects 7.1 million American children incurring an annual total direct healthcare cost around 9.3 billion dollars. Asthma control in children is suboptimal, leading to frequent asthma exacerbations, excess costs, and decreased quality of life. Successful prediction of risk for asthma control deterioration at the individual patient level would enhance self-management and enable early interventions to reduce asthma exacerbations. We developed and tested the first set of models for predicting a child's asthma control deterioration one week prior to occurrence.

Methods: We previously reported validation of the Asthma Symptom Tracker, a weekly asthma self-monitoring tool. Over a period of two years, we used this tool to collect a total of 2912 weekly assessments of asthma control on 210 children. We combined the asthma control data set with patient attributes and environmental variables to develop machine learning models to predict a child's asthma control deterioration one week ahead.

Results: Our best model achieved an accuracy of 71.8 %, a sensitivity of 73.8 %, a specificity of 71.4 %, and an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.757. We also identified potential improvements to our models to stimulate future research on this topic.

Conclusions: Our best model successfully predicted a child's asthma control level one week ahead. With adequate accuracy, the model could be integrated into electronic asthma self-monitoring systems to provide real-time decision support and personalized early warnings of potential asthma control deteriorations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Machine Learning
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Prognosis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity