Asthma deaths in children--a continuing problem.
The clinical and pathological features of five children who died of asthma over a recent 12-month period are reported. All had severe, chronic asthma requiring maintenance corticosteroid therapy. Three had been receiving beclomethasone dipropionate by inhalation and these had acute inflammation of the tracheobronchial tree at necropsy. Adrenal atrophy was found in all four cases examined histologically, despite normal short tetracosactrin tests in three of these shortly before they died. The need for high-dose corticosteroid by mouth for exacerbations of asthma in those weaned from oral steroids is emphasized by these deaths. The introduction of beclomethasone dipropionate by inhalation has led to an increase in the number of children in this high-risk group.