Background: Morbidity and mortality associated with childhood asthma are driven disproportionately by children with severe asthma. However, it is not known from longitudinal studies whether children outgrow severe asthma. Objective: We sought to study prospectively whether well-characterized children with severe asthma outgrow their asthma during adolescence. Methods: Children with asthma were assessed at baseline with detailed questionnaires, allergy tests, and lung function tests and were reassessed annually for 3 years. The population was enriched for children with severe asthma, as assessed by the American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society guidelines, and subject classification was reassessed annually. Results: At baseline, 111 (59%) children had severe asthma. Year to year, there was a decrease in the proportion meeting the criteria for severe asthma. After 3 years, only 30% of subjects met the criteria for severe asthma (P <.001 compared with enrollment). Subjects experienced improvements in most indices of severity, including symptom scores, exacerbations, and controller medication requirements, but not lung function. Surprisingly, boys and girls were equally likely to has resolved asthma (33% vs 29%). The odds ratio in favor of resolution of severe asthma was 2.75 (95% CI, 1.02-7.43) for those with a peripheral eosinophil count of greater than 436 cells/μL. Conclusions: In longitudinal analysis of this well-characterized cohort, half of the children with severe asthma no longer had severe asthma after 3 years; there was a stepwise decrease in the proportion meeting severe asthma criteria. Surprisingly, asthma severity decreased equally in male and female subjects. Peripheral eosinophilia predicted resolution. These data will be important for planning clinical trials in this population.
- Severe asthma
- lung function