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Are early life factors considered when managing respiratory disease? A British Thoracic Society survey of current practice
  1. Charlotte E Bolton1,
  2. Andrew Bush2,
  3. John R Hurst3,
  4. Sailesh Kotecha4,
  5. Lorcan McGarvey5,
  6. Janet Stocks6,
  7. Martin J Walshaw7
  1. 1Nottingham Respiratory Research Unit, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Royal Brompton Hospital, Imperial College, London, UK
  3. 3Centre for Respiratory Medicine, UCL, London, UK
  4. 4Department of Child Health, Institute of Molecular & Experimental Medicine, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff, UK
  5. 5Centre for Infection and Immunity, The Queen's University of Belfast, Belfast, Ireland
  6. 6Portex Unit: Respiratory Medicine and Physiology, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, UK
  7. 7Adult CF Unit, Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Charlotte E Bolton, Nottingham Respiratory Research Unit, University of Nottingham, City Hospital Campus, Hucknall Road, Nottingham NG5 1PB, UK; charlotte.bolton{at}


Background We hypothesised that early life events are not routinely considered by most respiratory specialists.

Methods Respiratory Specialists were surveyed via the British Thoracic Society (BTS) on whether they asked patients about birth weight, preterm birth and prenatal and postnatal complications.

Results Only a small minority (mostly hospital paediatricians) of the 123 who replied asked most respiratory patients about one of more early life factors. Patient recall of the information when asked was low.

Conclusions The survey results suggest little current consideration is given to early life factors in adult respiratory medicine, despite increasing evidence that early life factors do impact on later respiratory health. Improving training, increasing awareness and exploring new approaches to obtaining the information are required.

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