Pediatric Asthma Treatment Program

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Lurie Children’s treats more children with asthma than any other area hospital or medical center. Our asthma program brings together pulmonary and allergy experts to collaborate on treatment and provide world-class care for children and adolescents. Our goal is to work with families to help minimize the effect of asthma on children by creating treatment plans to prevent symptoms and effectively respond to symptoms when they occur.

In 2010 and 2011, Lurie Children’s was recognized as a Top Performer in The Joint Commission’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures™ program. Lurie Children’s made the list for achieving excellence on its accountability measures in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for children’s asthma. Lurie Children’s is recognized on The Joint Commission’s consumer-targeted Quality Check website.

About Asthma

Watch the video below for more information about what asthma is and its causes.

For additional information and videos about how asthma is treated and how to properly use treatment devices, visit our asthma page.

The Lurie Children's Difference

We believe in family-centered care, which means we involve the whole family in your child’s treatment plan. From bringing family members into care plan meetings, to providing support and distraction to a patient’s siblings, we do our best to help fit our care within your lifestyle.

Working together, we can create a home management plan to help your child stay healthy and lead an active lifestyle. Education is an important element of the plan, and we help you prepare all caregivers to respond to symptoms when necessary.


High-Risk Asthma Program

The High-Risk Asthma Program has been developed for patients with especially severe asthma that has been difficult to control. The program involves a multidisciplinary team that assists in addressing treatment barriers and comorbid conditions that can contribute to the severity of asthma. We take a patient centered approach to improve asthma control and the quality of life of our patients. Patients are referred into this program within the Division of Pulmonary Medicine


What to Expect

We will work with your family to develop a detailed asthma treatment plan to prevent symptoms and respond to symptoms when they occur. Together, we can identify triggers; develop action plans to avoid triggers; and create response plans to treat asthma flare-ups. Once your child has been diagnosed with asthma, your child's physician will prescribe medications to control their symptoms. This plan may change over time as your child grows and changes.

Two types of asthma medication are prescribed for most patients with asthma: controllers are medicaions used to prevent symptoms and relievers are medications used to treat symptoms when they occur. Controller medications, such as inhaled corticosteroids or leukotriene inhibitors, decrease the swelling and inflammation in the airways. Controller medications can be given by inhalation from a nebulizer, a metered dose inhaler or a dry powder inhaler. They are used every day to prevent asthma flare-ups. 

Reliever medications, such as bronchodilators, open narrow airways by relaxing the muscles that constrict them. Bronchodilators relieve coughing, wheezing, breathlessness and the feeling of tightness in the chest. They are used when patients are having symptoms of asthma. They are given by inhalation from a nebulizer or a metered dose inhaler.

Learn more about these treatments and watch videos to see how they're administered.

Asthma Doctors & Specialists

Our pulmonary medicine physicians collaborate with other specialties, such as allergy, to provide the highest-quality care to children with asthma. Our integrated team of physicians, pediatric nurse practitioners and pediatric nursing staff seamlessly coordinate to provide care and treatment plans. Program leadership from pulmonary medicine is provided by Avani V. Shah, MD, Attending Physician, Pulmonary Medicine. Dr. Shah is board-certified in pediatric pulmonology and pediatrics.

Conditions We Treat


Your support is vital in helping us continue to make a difference in the lives of patients and families. Lurie Children’s relies on philanthropic funding to enhance its programs, services and research for children. To learn more, please e-mail the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation at or call 312.227.7500