Spirometry testing in a population of Italian children: Age and gender differences

Marina Bianchi, Antonio Clavenna, Marco Sequi, Angela Bortolotti, Ida Fortino, Luca Merlino, Maurizio Bonati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aim: To estimate how many asthmatic children underwent spirometry testing in one year in a large Italian region, and evaluate sociodemographic determinants. Methods: Data were retrieved from the administrative databases that store all pharmacological and diagnostic prescriptions issued to individuals living in the Lombardy Region. The analysis involved prescriptions dispensed to all 6-17 year olds (1,047,241 subjects) during 2008. Youths were identified as asthmatics by a previously validated strategy. Number of subjects having ≥1 spirometry claims was calculated, and factors associated with the probability of undergoing spirometry were evaluated by multivariate analysis. Results: A total of 40,528 (3.9%) asthmatic subjects were identified. Only 30% of them underwent ≥1 spirometry during 2008, with differences between local health units (range 22-45%) and degree of anti-asthmatic use (26-35%). Moreover, in a multivariate analysis, the chance of undergoing spirometry was greater in boys than in girls (OR = 2.3). Conclusions: A low percentage of asthmatic children, especially girls (who are more at risk of developing severe disease in adulthood), underwent spirometry during 1-year period. This highlights a low compliance with guidelines in the monitoring of childhood asthma. Educational intervention is needed in order to encourage use of spirometry in primary care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1383-1388
Number of pages6
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Adolescent
  • Asthma
  • Child
  • Disease management
  • Gender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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