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Upgrading home heating systems improved subjective symptoms in children with asthma

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P Howden-Chapman

Prof P Howden-Chapman, University of Otago, Wellington, New Zealand; philippa.howden-chapman@otago.ac.nz

QUESTION

Does upgrading home heating systems improve the health of children with asthma?

METHODS

Design:

randomised controlled trial. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00489762

Allocation:

concealed.

Blinding:

unblinded.

Follow-up period:

baseline measures taken during winter 2005 and follow-up measures taken during winter 2006.

Setting:

households in 5 communities in New Zealand.

Patients:

409 children 6–12 years of age who had physician diagnosed asthma that was symptomatic in the previous year and slept ⩾4 nights/week in a house with a less effective form of heating (unflued gas or plug-in electric heaters).

Intervention:

installation of a non-polluting, more effective replacement heater (heat pump, wood pellet burner, or flued gas) before winter 2006 (n = 200) or maintenance of the old heating system for another winter (n = 209) (this group received new heaters after completion of the trial). Houses in both groups were insulated to …

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