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New Five-Question Test Helps Assess Asthma Control in Children Under Five Years of Age

WILMINGTON, Del., July 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Caregivers of children under five years of age can now answer five simple questions to determine if their child's breathing problems are not under control. AstraZeneca funded a research project to create the Test for Respiratory and Asthma Control in Kids, or TRACK, the first validated respiratory- and asthma-control assessment test specifically for patients under five years of age. TRACK helps evaluate respiratory control based on guidelines -- defined asthma impairment and risk. This easy to use, caregiver-completed test for respiratory and asthma control is available at

Although 80 percent of children with asthma demonstrate symptoms before age five(1), there are limitations to objective lung function tests for children in this age group(2). Young children also have trouble expressing their feelings of chest discomfort and shortness of breath -- making it difficult to assess asthma control in this age group. Asthma is the most common serious chronic childhood disease, affecting nearly nine million children in the United States at some point in their lifetime(3). Asthma is a leading cause of activity limitation, hospitalization and medical costs for children and their families(2).

"Given the increasingly limited physician-child-caregiver interaction time, TRACK can help collect basic information about breathing problems before a doctor's visit, thereby saving time for more in-depth and focused discussions during the visit," said Kevin R. Murphy, MD, FAAP, pediatric pulmonologist at Boys Town National Research Hospital in Omaha, NE and a member of The American Academy of Pediatrics Quality, Improvement and Innovation Network (QuIIN).

The five asthma management questions in the TRACK tool assess the frequency of respiratory symptoms, activity limitation in the past four weeks, nighttime awakenings in the past four weeks, quick-acting medication use in the past three months and oral corticosteriod use in the previous year.

Each of the five TRACK questions is scored by the caregiver using a five-point scale, from zero to twenty, with higher scores indicating better respiratory control. If a child scores 80 or less (out of 100) on TRACK, their breathing problems may not be under control. Parents should make sure they are following the treatment recommendations given to them by their child's health care provider, talk with their health care provider about reasons why their child's breathing problems may not be under control, and ask their health care provider what steps might be taken to improve their child's respiratory and asthma control in order to achieve less daytime and nighttime symptoms and less need to use quick-relief bronchodilator medications.

The validation study is published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. The American Academy of Pediatrics Quality, Improvement and Innovation Network (QuIIN) participated in the validation of TRACK.

It is important for caregivers of children with breathing problems to work with a health care provider to determine the best asthma treatment options. Controlling breathing problems can help a child sleep better, enjoy everyday activities and prevent recurring flare-ups. Visit to download the new TRACK tool.

About Test for Respiratory and Asthma Control in Kids (TRACK)

The five questions in the TRACK test were identified and validated through a study of 486 caregivers of children younger than five years of age with a history of respiratory or asthma symptoms. During the study's development stage, five final questions were drawn from 33-item draft questionnaire about guidelines-based asthma impairment and risk that best classified controlled and uncontrolled patients based on physicians' ratings of control. These questions were then tested for reliability and validity. The results of this study provide the first evidence for the validation of a caregiver-completed asthma control tool for children younger than five years of age with symptoms consistent with asthma. The study is published in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

About Asthma in Children

Asthma is a reversible obstructive lung disease caused by increased reaction of the airways to a variety of stimuli. Undiagnosed asthma has serious health consequences and can be life-threatening if not properly managed(4). Emergency department visit rates for asthma are highest among children under five years old(5), indicating a general need to improve the delivery of effective asthma management treatments to this age group.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN) is engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and in the supply of healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with global healthcare sales of $31.6 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines. In the United States, AstraZeneca is a $13.5 billion dollar healthcare business. For more information about AstraZeneca in the US or our AZ&Me(TM) Prescription Savings programs, please visit:


  1. Kemp, J.P, Kemp, J.A. Management of Asthma in Children. American Family Physician 2001;63(7):1341-1348.
  2. Murphy, K, Chipps, B, et al. A New Tool to Measure Asthma Control in Children Greater Than 5 Years Journal of Asthma & Clinical Immunology. April 2009.
  3. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Helping a kid with asthma be a kid. Accessed March 25, 2008.
  4. American Lung Association. Asthma & children fact sheet.{05C5FA0A-A953-4BB6-BB74-F07C2ECCABA9}&notoc=1. Accessed March 25, 2008.
  5. Akinbami L. Asthma prevalence, health care use and mortality: United States, 2003-2005. CDC National Center for Health Statistics - Health E-Stats. Accessed April 18, 2008.

SOURCE AstraZeneca
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