HealthDay New) — About 20% of children with asthma experience remission, although this outcome is less likely for females, children sensitized to furred animals and those with severe asthma, study findings indicate.

“Asthma is a dynamic condition, which often remits but also frequently relapses,” Martin Andersson, MD, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine at Umeå University in Sweden, and colleagues reported in Pediatrics.

Asthma affects more than 7 million children in the United States and has become increasingly prevalent. The definitive source of the respiratory condition is undetermined, sometimes making diagnosis complicated.

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To better understand factors related to remission or persistence of childhood asthma, the researchers analyzed data from a 1996 survey that followed 248 Swedish children aged 7 to 8 years who had asthma. Participants were reassessed  annually until age 19 years, and underwent lung function tests, bronchial challenge testing and skin prick tests. Asthma remission was defined as not using asthma medication and showing no signs of wheezing for at least one year.

Among the 205 participants that remained in the study through age 19, 21% were in remission, 38% had periodic asthma and 41% had persistent asthma. With persistent asthma as the reference, the likelihood of remission was higher for boys (odds ratio= 2.66) and lower among those sensitized to animals at baseline (OR=0.13) and those with more severe asthma at baseline (OR=0.19).

There was no association between remission and asthma heredity, damp housing, rural living or smoking.

“The probability of remission of childhood asthma from age 7 to 8 years to age 19 years was largely determined by sensitization status, particularly sensitization to animals, asthma severity and female gender, factors all inversely related to remission,” the researchers concluded.


  1. Andersson M et al. Pediatrics. 2013; doi: 10.1542/peds.2013-0741.