The prevalence of asthma and pneumonia in children under 5 years of age with acute respiratory symptoms based on reports from attending specialists and standard criteria

Document Type : Research Paper


Hazrat-e-Ali Asghar Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences



Asthma and pneumonia are the common inflammatory diseases in children that have similar pulmonary symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath. Due to the high similarity between the clinical symptoms of the diseases and the lack of appropriate paraclinical tools for the diagnosis of asthma, this study aims to consider the prevalence of asthma and pneumonia in children with acute respiratory symptoms. In this descriptive cross-sectional study, 155 children aged less than 5 years old who had been diagnosed with asthma or pneumonia in Ali Asghar Hospital were studied. A checklist was applied which contained the necessary information for the accurate diagnose of patients based on standard criteria and clinical features confirmed by a medical specialist team, including an infectious pediatrician and a pediatric asthma and allergy specialist. Eventually, the diagnosis results reported by the attending specialist’s team and the emergency physician were analyzed by SPSS software. 109 (70.3%) were males and 46 (29.7%) were females. There was a significant difference in the prevalence of asthma and pneumonia reported by the emergency physician and medical specialist team (k=0.31; p <0.001). Emergency physician reported 55 patients (35.5%) with asthma, 96 patients (61.9%) with pneumonia, and 4 patients (2.6%) with asthma and pneumonia. The medical teams reported 84 patients (54.2%) with asthma, 40 patients (25.8%) with pneumonia, and 31 patients (20%) with asthma and pneumonia. Due to the similarities in clinical symptoms of asthma and pneumonia, the reported incidence of asthma is less than the true level because of misdiagnosis with pneumonia.