PAWS: Improving management and outcomes of preschool asthma and paediatric wheeze


Why the research project is important

Wheeze is very common in children, with approximately half of all preschool aged children having a wheezing episode. Approximately 40% of these children will have recurrent episodes of wheeze. Wheeze is a breath sound that may indicate asthma or other airway diseases, and hence it is important to accurately diagnose. However, wheeze can be hard for parents to detect and often a child won’t be wheezing when they visit a doctor. This can lead to both under- and over- diagnosis of asthma and inappropriate medication use.

What the research seeks to do

To better diagnose asthma, a more reliable detection of wheeze is required that can be used when the child visits the doctor’s clinic and, importantly, that parents can use at home. This project will investigate the use of Wheezescan® as a possible digital solution to detect wheeze. Wheezescan® is a small, lightweight, user-friendly portable device. It is the world’s first clinically validated device that can detect wheeze. We will use the device in respiratory clinics and in the child’s home to detect wheeze. The study aims to assess if using Wheezescan® digital technology improves the detection of wheeze and subsequent diagnosis of asthma. Further, in children already diagnosed with asthma, if Wheezescan® will help to improve asthma control.

What are the research outcomes/ impact

Wheezescan® has already been shown to be reliable and will give both parents and doctors the ability to more confidently determine if a child has a wheeze. If our study shows that using this digital technology improves our ability to detect preschool wheeze, it will improve the management of this common condition through the accurate diagnosis of preschool asthma. For those children with established asthma diagnosis, it will improve parent self-management and asthma control without a net increase in healthcare costs.

Funding Body

The study is being funded in Australia by a grant from the NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Further Details

Read the QUT news story Project to accurately identify childhood wheeze to improve clinical outcomes – AusHSI.

Learn about the Cough and Airways Research Group (CAARG).

For further information, please contact investigator Prof Stephanie Yerkovich at


Prof Anne Chang

Prof Stephanie Yerkovich

A/Prof Julie Marchant

Dr Vikas Goyal

Dr Hannah O’Farrell

Prof Steven McPhail


Prof Keith Grimwood (Griffith University)

Prof Hiran Selvadurai (Children’s Hospital at Westmead)

Dr Gabrielle McCallum (Menzies School of Health Research)

A/Prof Shane George (Griffith University)

Mrs Lesley Versteegh (Menzies School of Health Research)

Prof Peter Morris (Menzies School of Health Research)

Mrs Leanne Elliott-Holmes (Asthma Foundation NT)

Wheezescan® instruments kindly provided by Omron Healthcare