Background: Evidence supports the Buteyko breathing technique (BBT) as reducing medication and improving control and quality of life in adults with asthma, but having minimal impact on spirometry. For children with asthma, evidence addressing the utility of BBT is sparse. We evaluated the effectiveness of BBT in managing various aspects of asthma in children.
Methods: Thirty-two children with partly controlled asthma (age 6-15 years, 66% male) were randomized to either Treatment as Usual (TAU) or TAU combined with Buteyko training (Buteyko group, BG). Children in the BG received an intensive five-day training followed by three months of home practice. Primary outcome was bronchodilator reduction. Secondary outcomes were changes in physiological parameters FEV1_AR (at rest), FEV1_ER (after ergometry), FEV1_BR (after bronchospasmolysis), corticosteroid use, FeNO, SpO2, breath-hold test and questionnaire data [Asthma Control Questionnaire and Pediatric Asthma Caregiver's Quality of Life Questionnaire (PACQLQ)]. All measures were collected at Baseline and a three-month follow-up.
Results: For the primary outcome, no significant between-group difference was found. Regarding the secondary outcomes, children receiving treatment augmented with BBT revealed significantly greater improvement at the follow-up than those receiving TAU for FEV1_AR (p = .04, d=-0.50), FEV1_ER (p = .02, d=-0.52), and the emotional function subscale of the PACQLQ (p < .01, d = 1.03). No between-group differences were found for the remaining secondary measures of outcome.
Conclusions: Our preliminary findings suggest that the addition of BBT to treatment as usual for children with asthma enhances outcomes with respect to spirometry and parental emotional function but does not lead to reductions in medication, at least over the short term.
Keywords: Breathing retraining; Buteyko breathing technique; asthma; pediatrics.
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