Continuing Medical Education

Childhood asthma: A best-practice strategy for the diagnosis and assessment of control in South Africa

A van Niekerk, D A White, P Goussard, S M Risenga

Abstract


The South African (SA) Childhood Asthma Working Group of the Allergy Society of SA (ALLSA) advises on best-practice strategy for childhood asthma management. The strategy is in accordance with current evidence and consensus. The aim of this review is to inform on a best-practice strategy for asthma diagnosis and the assessment of asthma control in SA children who attend public and private healthcare services. The diagnosis of asthma is more difficult in preschool-aged than school-aged children. This review proposes a four-step diagnostic approach in both groups, with an added obligation to objectively measure variable expiratory airflow limitation in school-aged children. Asthma control refers to the degree to which the effects of asthma can be seen in patients, or to which these have been reduced by treatment. After initiation of treatment, it is essential to assess asthma control at regular follow-up visits, and to adjust treatment accordingly. Patient education is key to attaining control.


Authors' affiliations

A van Niekerk, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, and Steve Biko Academic Hospital, Pretoria, South Africa

D A White, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, South Africa

P Goussard, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, and Tygerberg Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa

S M Risenga, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Limpopo, and Pietersburg Hospital, South Africa

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Keywords

Infection; Asthma

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2021;111(8):705-709. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2021.v111i8.15851

Article History

Date submitted: 2021-08-02
Date published: 2021-08-02

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