The clinical and respiratory function characteristics of 200 children 7 years after their admission to hospital with acute lower respiratory tract infection in infancy have been presented. Results were subsequently analysed according to disease category (bronchitis, bronchiolitis, or pneumonia) at initial presentation. Within each diagnostic category recurrent cough and wheeze, a tendency for colds 'to go to the chest', medication, absence from school, and family doctor consultations were significantly increased. Ventilatory function was diminished and bronchial reactivity increased when compared with matched controls. Studies of a different design are required to elucidate the mechanisms whereby symptoms are increased, ventilatory function impaired, and bronchial reactivity increased after severe lower respiratory infection in infancy.
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