Background: Asthma is a chronic airway disorder with variable/recurring symptoms, airflow obstruction, bronchial hyperresponsiveness, and an inflammation. The expert panel report of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute recommends asthma screening in sickle cell disease (SCD); however, specific approach is not mentioned. We hypothesize that the breathmobile case identification survey (BCIS) is a valid asthma screening tool in children with SCD.Methods: This prospective, single-center study enrolled 129 SCD patients aged 5 to 18 years from March 2016 to March 2018. All patients completed BCIS, spirometry, and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO). A single pulmonologist blinded to the BCIS results evaluated patients for asthma.Results: Asthma prevalence was 41%. Male gender (60.4%; p = 0.041), allergic rhinitis (86.8%; p < 0.01), hydroxyurea usage (73.6%; p < 0.01), and family history of asthma (34%; p < 0.01) were higher but not self-reported parental asthma history, eczema, and tobacco smoke exposure in the asthma group compared to the nonasthma group. FEV1 (p = 0.003), FVC (p = 0.02), FEV1/FVC (p = 0.053), and FEF25-75% (p = 0.02) were lower in asthma. FeNO levels were comparable in both groups. The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value of the abbreviated BCIS were 67.3%, 90.8%, 83.3%, and 80.2% for asthma; and 82.1%, 90.8%, 76.7%, and 93.2% for persistent asthma, respectively. Persistent asthma patients had a trend of higher hydroxyurea use (82.8% vs. 58.3%; p = 0.049) and tobacco smoke exposure (55.2% vs. 29.2%; p = 0.057) compared to intermittent asthma.Conclusion: We have validated the BCIS to screen for asthma in SCD. Spirometry but not FeNO may support an asthma diagnosis.
Keywords: Sickle cell disease; asthma; atopic eczema; pulmonary function test; rhinitis; screening; spirometry.