Asthma in adults and its association with chronic rhinosinusitis: the GA2LEN survey in Europe

Allergy. 2012 Jan;67(1):91-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2011.02709.x. Epub 2011 Nov 4.


Background: The prevalence of asthma and its association with chronic rhinosinusitis (CRS) have not been widely studied in population-based epidemiological surveys.

Methods: The Global Allergy and Asthma Network of Excellence (GA(2) LEN) conducted a postal questionnaire in representative samples of adults living in Europe to assess the presence of asthma and CRS defined by the European Position Paper on Rhinosinusitis and Nasal Polyps. The prevalence of self-reported current asthma by age group was determined. The association of asthma with CRS in each participating centre was assessed using logistic regression analyses, controlling for age, sex and smoking, and the effect estimates were combined using standard methods of meta-analysis.

Results: Over 52,000 adults aged 18-75 years and living in 19 centres in 12 countries took part. In most centres, and overall, the reported prevalence of asthma was lower in older adults (adjusted OR for 65-74 years compared with 15-24 years: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.63-0.81). In all centres, there was a strong association of asthma with CRS (adjusted OR: 3.47; 95% CI: 3.20-3.76) at all ages. The association with asthma was stronger in those reporting both CRS and allergic rhinitis (adjusted OR: 11.85; 95% CI: 10.57-13.17). CRS in the absence of nasal allergies was positively associated with late-onset asthma.

Conclusion: Geographical variation in the prevalence of self-reported asthma was observed across Europe, but overall, self-reported asthma was more common in young adults, women and smokers. In all age groups, men and women, and irrespective of smoking behaviour, asthma was also associated with CRS.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / epidemiology*
  • Data Collection
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / complications
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Polyps / complications
  • Prevalence
  • Rhinitis / complications*
  • Rhinitis / epidemiology*
  • Sinusitis / complications*
  • Sinusitis / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult