Pediatric Asthma: When to Refer

Stanford Children’s Pulmonary, Asthma and Sleep Medicine Center includes a large team of specialists devoted to the care of children with asthma. Our goals are to partner with our patients and referring physicians to optimize and maintain asthma control, to provide and reinforce education, and, when necessary, to evaluate for other diagnoses (which may include noninvasive testing or further invasive evaluation such as bronchoscopy). Our goal is for our children with asthma to live healthy lives without limitation as much as possible.

When health care providers should refer a patient with asthma

We welcome any referrals and highly suggest that a referral be considered for asthmatic patients in the following circumstances:

  • Life-threatening asthma exacerbation or severe asthma exacerbation
  • Asthma not well controlled or poorly controlled despite medical management with an inhaled steroid (may need combination medicines, biologics, assessment for other diagnoses or comorbidities)
  • Need for further asthma education
  • Need for parental reassurance
  • Unclear diagnosis

Some clues that the diagnosis may not be asthma:

  • Failure to thrive
  • Stridor
  • Dysphagia
  • Severe recurrent respiratory tract infection
  • Persistent wet cough
  • Above symptoms beginning at birth
  • No response to asthma medications despite adherence
  • Visible nasal obstruction
  • Year-round nasal symptoms or cough beginning in infancy

How health care providers can refer a patient with asthma

To refer a patient to any of our locations, please call (844) 724-4140 or visit