Small Airway Disease in Pediatric Asthma: the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How to Remediate. A Review and Commentary

Russell J. Hopp, Mark C. Wilson, M. Asghar Pasha

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Asthma affects all portions of the airways. Small airways, however, comprise a substantial component of the conducting lung air flow. In asthma, inflammatory processes can affect the whole respiratory tract, from central to peripheral/small airways. The emphasis in adult and pediatric respiratory disease clinics is to focus on large airway obstruction and reversibility. This information, although valuable, underemphasizes a large portion of the conduction airway of asthmatics. Standard descriptions of asthma management focus on a multiple medication approaches. We particularly focused on the management of asthma in the international guidelines for the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). Overall, however, minimal attention is placed on the small airway pool in asthma medical management. We took the opportunity to thoroughly review and present specific data from the adult asthma literature which supported the concept that small airway abnormalities may play a role in the pathogenesis and clinical expression of asthma. Based on the conclusions of the adult asthma literature, we here present a thorough review of the literature as it relates to small airway disease in children with asthma. We used, collectively, individual data sources of data to expand the information available from standard diagnostic techniques, especially spirometry, in the evaluation of small airway disease. As the pharmacological approaches to moderate to severe asthma are advancing rapidly into the realm of biologics, we sought to present potential pharmacological options for small airway dysfunction in pediatrics prior to biological modifier intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-159
Number of pages15
JournalClinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Asthma
  • Children
  • Pediatrics
  • Small airway
  • Small airway disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy


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