The future in paediatric respirology

H. Joel Schmidt, Vineet Bhandari, Anita Bhandari, Jane Davies, Bruce C. Marshall, Jean Paul Praud, Heather J. Zar, Bruce K. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The authors were given the charge of providing a vision of the future in paediatric respirology. Themes selected for being ripe for this visionary analysis include bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD), asthma, cystic fibrosis (CF), lung infections, obstructive sleep disordered breathing (OSDB) and pulmonary diagnostics and monitoring. A profound reduction or elimination of BPD is seen. Given the strong genetic component of this disease, genetic biomarkers will likely be identified that will permit much earlier recognition of BPD susceptibility and potentially the ability to modify disease course by altering gene expression. The ultimate prevention of BPD will be to prevent prematurity, but recognition of both the genetic basis of BPD and the inflammatory background should lead to improved prevention and therapy. A clear understanding and definition of asthma phenotypes will lead to more specific and targeted therapy, earlier detection and prevention, better monitoring of severity and adherence to therapy, lower mortality and decreased inappropriate diagnosis of asthma. The greatest opportunities in asthma care will likely come through tools to improve adherence to effective therapy. Also, areas are identified where better therapies are needed such as in patients with severe mucus hypersecretion (secretory hyperresponsiveness) especially in those with life-threatening asthma. The future of CF is easier to foresee with early successes seen in clinical trials. After the expected ability to correct the CF transmembrane regulator, care will need to change and additional research will be needed. Additionally, the face of CF is changing with more adults than children presently having the disease. This will necessitate changes to our approach to treating this disease in a fortunately aging population. If we are going to affect the worldwide lung health of children, we will need to address respiratory infections particularly pneumonia, tuberculosis and HIV-associated infections. Preventive, diagnostic and treatment strategies will shape the future face of these problems. The availability of inexpensive, readily available, and rapid molecular techniques to identify true infection (including HIV and tuberculosis) may permit earlier use of effective therapy while preventing the inappropriate use of antibiotics for common viral diseases. Sleep medicine will continue to be an important aspect of paediatric pulmonology. The evaluation of OSDB cannot rely on full-night attended polysomnography due to limited access. Identifying reliable markers of end organ dysfunction in children with OSDB may permit more rapid identification of patients in need of intervention like CPAP and assisted breathing. In addition, management options, as an alternative to adenotonsilectomy, are listed with a call for further research. Pulmonary diagnostics and monitoring will see the development and refinement of tools like the lung clearance index and the analysis of exhaled gasses, volatiles and dissolved biomarkers of inflammation as techniques that might help clinicians identify both the initiation of inflammation while it is more amenable to therapy, and to identify more readily the early changes associated with chronic lung diseases in children. The authors hope that these visionary articles will generate comments, arguments, inspiration, and perhaps even motivate funding agencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)733-741
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • cystic fibrosis
  • paediatric asthma
  • paediatric lung disease
  • pneumonia
  • sleep apnoea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'The future in paediatric respirology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this