Largest lung study begins

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THE world’s biggest study into children with a chronic lung disorder has been launched at Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

Doctors searching for a treatment for bacterial bronchitis will compare 100 children who suffer with the condition to 100 others who have healthy lungs in a year-long study launched to coincide with Asthma Awareness Week.

Each child will undergo a bronchoscopy, a flexible telescope examination of the airways, under general anaesthetic.

The youngsters who suffer from bacterial bronchitis will have the procedure done specially.

And the children with healthy lungs will have the bronchoscopy while they are under general anaesthetic for different reasons, such as a surgical procedure.

Professor Mark Everard, respiratory consultant at Sheffield Children’s Hospital, said: “There has never been a study of this size before looking at the causes of bacterial bronchitis and we are very keen to see what the results will bring.

“Parents can be at the end of their tether when they come to see us because their child is thought to have had asthma or another infection with similar symptoms when actually they have this chronic condition.”

Children with bacterial bronchitis often have symptoms including coughing, exacerbations with colds and shortness of breath.

Prof Everard added: “This study will show us which bugs are living in the lungs of the children with the infection and whether there is a pattern of immunity that puts some children at risk.”

n Parents’ guide to asthma signs and symptoms: P22.