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Front Physiol ; 12: 652198, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1229227


The detrimental effects of tobacco exposure on children's health are well known. Nonetheless, the prevalence of secondhand or direct cigarette smoke exposure (CSE) in the pediatric population has not significantly decreased over time. On the contrary, the rapid incline in use of e-cigarettes among adolescents has evoked public health concerns since increasing cases of vaping-induced acute lung injury have highlighted the potential harm of these new "smoking" devices. Two pediatric populations are especially vulnerable to the detrimental effects of cigarette smoke. The first group is former premature infants whose risk is elevated both due to their prematurity as well as other risk factors such as oxygen and mechanical ventilation to which they are disproportionately exposed. The second group is children and adolescents with chronic respiratory diseases, in particular asthma and other wheezing disorders. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a spectrum of diseases caused by infection with the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) that has spread worldwide over the last year. Here, respiratory symptoms ranging from mild to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) are at the forefront of COVID-19 cases among adults, and cigarette smoking is associated with worse outcomes in this population, and cigarette smoking is associated with worse outcomes in this population. Interestingly, SARS-CoV-2 infection affects children differently in regard to infection susceptibility, disease manifestations, and complications. Although children carry and transmit the virus, the likelihood of symptomatic infection is low, and the rates of hospitalization and death are even lower when compared to the adult population. However, multisystem inflammatory syndrome is recognized as a serious consequence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in the pediatric population. In addition, recent data demonstrate specific clinical patterns in children infected with SARS-CoV-2 who develop multisystem inflammatory syndrome vs. severe COVID-19. In this review, we highlight the pulmonary effects of CSE in vulnerable pediatric populations in the context of the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.

Children (Basel) ; 8(3)2021 Feb 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1211900


Prevalence of childhood obesity is progressively increasing, reaching worldwide levels of 5.6% in girls and of 7.8% in boys. Several evidences showed that obesity is a major preventable risk factor and disease modifier of some respiratory conditions such as asthma and Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS). Co-occurrence of asthma and obesity may be due to common pathogenetic factors including exposure to air pollutants and tobacco smoking, Western diet, and low Vitamin D levels. Lung growth and dysanapsis phenomenon in asthmatic obese children play a role in impaired respiratory function which appears to be different than in adults. Genes involved in both asthma and obesity have been identified, though a gene-by-environment interaction has not been properly investigated yet. The identification of modifiable environmental factors influencing gene expression through epigenetic mechanisms may change the natural history of both diseases. Another important pediatric respiratory condition associated with obesity is Sleep-Disordered Breathing (SDB), especially Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS). OSAS and obesity are linked by a bidirectional causality, where the effects of one affect the other. The factors most involved in the association between OSAS and obesity are oxidative stress, systemic inflammation, and gut microbiota. In OSAS pathogenesis, obesity's role appears to be mainly due to mechanical factors leading to an increase of respiratory work at night-time. However, a causal link between obesity-related inflammatory state and OSAS pathogenesis still needs to be properly confirmed. To prevent obesity and its complications, family education and precocious lifestyle changes are critical. A healthy diet may lead to an improved quality of life in obese children suffering from respiratory diseases. The present review aimed to investigate the links between obesity, asthma and OSAS, focusing on the available evidence and looking for future research fields.

ATS Sch ; 1(4): 416-435, 2020 Oct 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1191227


The American Thoracic Society Core Curriculum updates clinicians annually in adult and pediatric pulmonary disease, medical critical care, and sleep medicine in a 3- to 4-year recurring cycle of topics. The topics of the 2020 Pulmonary Core Curriculum include pulmonary vascular disease (submassive pulmonary embolism, chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension, and pulmonary hypertension) and pulmonary infections (community-acquired pneumonia, pulmonary nontuberculous mycobacteria, opportunistic infections in immunocompromised hosts, and coronavirus disease [COVID-19]).

Front Pediatr ; 8: 614076, 2020.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1069741


The COVID-19 pandemic led to rapid global spread with far-reaching impacts on health-care systems. Whilst pediatric data consistently shown a milder disease course, chronic lung disease has been identified as a risk factor for hospitalization and severe disease. In Africa, comprised predominantly of low middle-income countries (LMIC), the additional burden of HIV, tuberculosis, malnutrition and overcrowding is high and further impacts health risk. This paper reviewed the literature on COVID-19 and chronic lung disease in children and provides our experience from an African pediatric pulmonary center in Cape Town, South Africa. South African epidemiological data confirms a low burden of severe disease with children <18 years comprising 8% of all diagnosed cases and 3% of all COVID-19 admissions. A decrease in hospital admission for other viral lower respiratory tract infections was found. While the pulmonology service manages children with a wide range of chronic respiratory conditions including bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, asthma, interstitial lung disease and children with tracheostomies, no significant increase in COVID-19 admissions were noted and in those who developed COVID-19, the disease course was not severe. Current evidence suggests that pre-existing respiratory disease in children does not appear to be a significant risk factor for severe COVID-19. Longitudinal data are still needed to assess risk in children with immunosuppression and interstitial lung diseases. The indirect impacts of the pandemic response on child respiratory health are notable and still likely to be fully realized and quantified. Ensuring children have access to full preventive and care services during this time is priority.