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Vol. 46. Issue 3.
Pages 210-217 (May - June 2018)
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Vol. 46. Issue 3.
Pages 210-217 (May - June 2018)
Original Article
DOI: 10.1016/j.aller.2016.08.011
Meta-analysis of prevalence of wheezing and recurrent wheezing in infants
I. Alvarez-Alvareza,
Corresponding author

Corresponding author.
, H. Niua, F. Guillen-Grimaa,b,c, I. Aguinaga-Ontosoa
a Department of Health Sciences, Public University of Navarre, Pamplona, Spain
b IDISNA, Navarre's Institute for Health Research, Pamplona, Spain
c Preventive medicine, University of Navarre Clinic, Pamplona, Spain
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Tables (2)
Table 1. Characteristics of the studies included in the meta-analysis.
Table 2. Meta-analysis of the prevalence of wheezing and recurrent wheezing in infants.
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Wheezing affects children's quality of life, and is related with asthma in childhood. Although prevalence of wheezing has been previously studied in several countries, there is no reference of worldwide prevalence in infants. The aim of this meta-analysis is to estimate the prevalence of wheezing and recurrent wheezing in infants aged up to two years, and compare the prevalence across world regions.


Literature search was conducted in MEDLINE and SCOPUS databases, looking for observational studies published up to June 2016, including as keywords “prevalence” or “epidemiology” combined with “wheeze”, “wheezing” or “asthma symptoms” and “infant” or “preschool”. Fast*Pro software and random effects Bayesian model were used. Heterogeneity was estimated using I2 statistic, and sensitivity analyses were performed.


We identified 109 studies after duplicates were removed. After exclusions, 14 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Prevalence of wheezing and recurrent wheezing were 36.06% (95% CI 35.17–36.96), and 17.41% (95% CI 16.74–18.09), respectively. In European countries, prevalence of wheezing was 30.68% (95% CI 28.97–32.45), and 12.35% (95% CI 11.27–13.47) for recurrent wheezing. Prevalence of wheezing and recurrent wheezing in Latin America were higher, 40.55% (95% CI 39.40–41.71), and 19.27% (95% CI 18.44–20.11), respectively. In Africa, prevalence of wheezing was 15.97% (95% CI 14.05–18.00). Low or no heterogeneity was found in all cases.


More than one third of infants suffer from wheezing and almost one fifth from recurrent wheezing, being these illnesses especially prevalent in Latin American countries, pointing out an important public health problem.

Recurrent wheezing


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