Pediatric pulmonology specialists at MedStar Health provide a wide range of services to care for children with asthma, cystic fibrosis, bronchopulmonary dysplasia, chronic lung diseases, sleep disordered breathing/sleep apnea, ventilatory muscle weakness, and respiratory complications from neuromuscular diseases, as well as for children requiring home mechanical ventilation with BIPAP. We also provide flexible fiberoptic bronchoscopy and pulmonary function testing.
Learn more about pulmonary treatment at MedStar Georgetown.
Pediatric asthma diagnosis and treatment
Asthma is one of the most common diseases that affects millions of children in our country and it goes undiagnosed 50% of the time. Asthma is generally a controllable disease and through preventive care, children with asthma should expect to lead active, healthy lives, free of asthma symptoms. Unfortunately, many children and their families spend too many hours in the hospital and emergency rooms due to asthma symptoms.
Earlier diagnosis and more effective management of asthma in children especially in preschool age group decreases the number of cases of undiagnosed asthma and will significantly reduce the number of emergency room visits by children with asthma.
The Pediatric Asthma program at MedStar Health offers comprehensive evaluation, assessment, and care of children with asthma. It aims to educate our patients and their families to help them manage their asthma so that they may live life to the fullest. Our pediatric asthma specialists are the best in their fields, working in an environment dedicated to meeting the rising demand for asthma care.
What are the signs that your child may have asthma?
- Chronic or persistent cough
- Tightness in the chest
- Shortness of breath or tummy breathing
- Less able to exercise
- Gets tired easily
- Pain in chest
- Nasal and chest congestion
*Children may have one or more of these symptoms at a time
What can trigger your child’s asthma?
- Irritants such as smoke, gases, fumes, or perfumes
- Viral infections such as a sore throat, cold, or flu
- Emotional stress or excitement
- Allergens (pollen, mold, cockroaches, dust mites, or pet dander)
- Cold air, windy weather, or a sudden change in air pressure
- Tobacco smoke
How is asthma diagnosed?
To diagnose asthma and distinguish it from other lung disorders, our doctors look at many things, including medical history, physical examination, and laboratory tests.
These lab tests may include:
- Spirometry: A spirometer is a device used to assess lung function. This test can be performed on children as young as 6 years old.
- Allergy testing: Allergies can be evaluated by either a scratch test or a blood test. Each test has certain advantages and our asthma specialists will determine what test is best for your child.
- Exhaled nitric oxide: A new test that is able to measure the amount inflammation present in the airways of young children with asthma. The test is painless, easy to perform, and provides information that helps with both the diagnosis and treatment of asthma.
- Other tests include chest X-rays and blood tests
Goals of asthma treatment
- Decrease in coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath
- Rare or no night-time symptoms
- Reduce the need for rescue inhaler (Albuterol)—should be less than 2 times a week
- Eliminate the need for emergency room visits or admission to the hospital
- Enable participation in physical activities and playing sports
- No missed school days resulting from asthma
- Return lung function to normal
Schedule an appointment with our pediatric asthma specialists
The management of asthma can vary based on the particular child; education and regular treatments can help successfully control it. Any of the following is a good reason to see a Pediatric Asthma specialist at MedStar Health:
- Evaluation and diagnosis of asthma
- Asthma interferes with the ability to sleep or perform daily activities
- Asthma is not well-controlled
- Interfering with exercise and or playing sports
- Needing to use a lot of rescue medication (Albuterol)
- Concerns about medications to treat asthma
- Wanting to know if other conditions such as allergies or gastroesophageal reflux are playing a role
- Regular doctor or pediatrician suggests an evaluation
- Wanting to learn more about asthma management and new treatments
Pediatric pulmonary function testing
Pulmonary function testing provides objective information regarding the nature of respiratory diseases and effects of therapy. It includes measurements of airflow and lung volumes and test of airway reactivity.
Pediatric sleep apnea evaluation center
The pediatric sleep laboratory performs polysomnography to evaluate breathing disorders during sleep in children and adolescents. Polysomnography simultaneously records physiologic variables including sleep state, respiration, cardiac rhythm, muscle activity, gas exchange, and snoring.