Prevalence of recurrent wheezing in infants and toddlers in Barbados: findings from a prospective study of a cohort of babies born during 2015–2017

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Alok Kumar
Prerna Singh
Nico Belgrave


infants, toddlers, prevalence, asthma predictive index, recurrent wheezing


Objectives: The main objective was to determine the prevalence of recurrent wheezing (RW) among infants and toddlers as well as the prevalence of asthma predictive risk factors among those with RW.

Materials and methods: A prospective study of a cohort of babies recruited after their birth during July 2015–June 2017. Mothers were contacted using the WhatsApp messaging system for digital follow-up on their baby’s condition at 3-monthly intervals until they were 18 months old. Information on wheezing and its correlates were collected by digital follow-up and corroborated at an in-person interview and examination of their baby at 18 months of age. Recurrent wheezing was defined as more than three episodes of wheezing or its correlates during the follow-up period.

Results: There were 338 males (41.5%) and 476 (58.5%) females. Overall, 31.1% (95% CI = 27.9%, 34.4%) had RW by 18 months and the same number had RW during their first year of life. Of the infants with RW, 121 (47.8%; 95% CI = 41.6, 54.2) had at least one or both of the major criteria and/or at least two minor criteria of the stringent Asthma Predictive Index (API). Of those with RW, 32.0% received antihistamine and 20% had received antibiotics on their last visit to a physician for wheezing or symptoms of cough, cold, and/or breathing difficulty.

Conclusions: Nearly a third of infants and toddlers had RW and nearly half of the infants with RW had risk factors fulfilling the criteria of the stringent API.

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