Infectious Disease

Recurrent childhood bronchitis linked to greater risk for pneumonia, asthma in adulthood

Source/Disclosures

Disclosures:
Perret reports receiving an investigator-initiated grant from GlaxoSmithKline. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.

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Recurrent episodes of childhood bronchitis appear to be associated with increased risk for lung disease later in life, researchers reported in BMJ Open Respiratory Research.

“This is the first very long-term prospective study that has examined the relationship between childhood bronchitis severity with adult lung health outcomes,” Jennifer L. Perret, MD, respiratory and sleep epidemiologist at the Center for Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Melbourne , said in a related press release. “We have already seen that children with protracted bacterial bronchitis are at increased risk of serious chronic infectious lung disease after 2 to 5 years, so studies like ours are documenting the potential for symptomatic children to develop lung conditions, such as asthma and lung function changes , up to mid-adult life.”

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Perret and colleagues analyzed 3,202 participants from the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study cohort who were born in 1961 and first evaluated at age 7. According to the release, all participants were tracked for an average of 46 years, and 42% completed a questionnaire regarding physician- diagnosed lung conditions and clinical examinations between 2012 and 2016.

Among all participants, 47.5% experienced one or more episodes of childhood bronchitis, of which 28.1% were classified as non-recurrent bronchitis, 18.1% as recurrent non-protracted bronchitis and 1.3% as recurrent-protracted bronchitis.

Researchers reported an increase in prevalence of physician-diagnosed asthma and pneumonia (P<.001) and chronic bronchitis (P=.07) at the age 53-year follow-up, in accordance with severity of childhood bronchitis. In addition, at age 53, recurrent-protracted bronchitis was associated with physician-diagnosed current asthma (OR = 4.54; 95% CI, 2.31-8.91), physician-diagnosed pneumonia (OR = 2.18; 95% CI, 1-4.74) and increased transfer factor for carbon monoxide compared with participants without childhood bronchitis.

“It is notable that the link with later adult active asthma was seen for participants who did not have co-existent asthma or wheezing in childhood, and a similar finding has been recently seen in a very large meta-analysis of school-aged children who had had a lower respiratory tract infection during early childhood,” Perret said in the release.

References:

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