Introduction: Although asthma and COPD are different pathologies, many patients share characteristics from both entities. These cases can have different evolutions and responses to treatment. Nevertheless, the evidence available is limited, and it is necessary to evaluate whether they represent a differential phenotype and provide recommendations about diagnosis and treatment, in addition to identifying possible gaps in our understanding of asthma and COPD.
Methods: A nation-wide consensus of experts in COPD in two stages: 1) during an initial meeting, the topics to be dealt with were established and a first draft of statements was elaborated with a structured "brainstorming" method; 2) consensus was reached with two rounds of e-mails, using a Likert-type scale.
Results: Consensus was reached about the existence of a differential clinical phenotype known as"Overlap Phenotype COPD-Asthma", whose diagnosis is made when 2 major criteria and 2 minor criteria are met. The major criteria include very positive bronchodilator test (increase in FEV(1) ≥ 15% and ≥ 400ml), eosinophilia in sputum and personal history of asthma. Minor criteria include high total IgE, personal history of atopy and positive bronchodilator test (increase in FEV(1) ≥ 12% and ≥ 200ml) on two or more occasions. The early use of individually-adjusted inhaled corticosteroids is recommended, and caution must be taken with their abrupt withdrawal. Meanwhile, in severe cases the use of triple therapy should be evaluated. Finally, there is an obvious lack of specific studies about the natural history and the treatment of these patients.
Conclusions: It is necessary to expand our knowledge about this phenotype in order to establish adequate guidelines and recommendations for its diagnosis and treatment.
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