The multiple meanings of "wheezing"

Most studies on pediatric asthma rely on the report of "wheezing" in questionnaires. Here is what wheezing sounds like (click to play the embedded video):

This study from Portugal investigated the understanding of this term by 400 parents with, what else, a questionnaire.

The term "wheezing" was not recognized by 34% of parents, more frequently those who:

- were younger (OR 0.4 per 10-year increment)
- had lower education (OR 3.3)
- whose children had no history of respiratory disease (OR 4.6)

31% of parents familiar with "wheezing" either did not identify it as a sound, or did not locate it to the chest. Tactile (40%) and visual (34%) cues to identify "wheezing" were used.

The study suggests the need for more accurate questionnaires and objective measurements to evaluate "wheezing" disorders.


The multiple meanings of "wheezing": a questionnaire survey in Portuguese for parents and health professionals. BMC Pediatrics 2011, 11:112 doi:10.1186/1471-2431-11-112

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