Asthma and COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS): A Systematic Review and Meta Analysis

PLoS One. 2015 Sep 3;10(9):e0136065. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136065. eCollection 2015.


Background: The combination of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or ACOS is a recently defined syndrome. The epidemiology of the condition is poorly described and previous research has suggested ACOS is associated with worse outcomes than either condition alone. We therefore decided to complete a systematic review of the published literature.

Methods: This review was conducted in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta- Analyses guidelines. A structured search was performed in the PubMed, Embase, and Medline databases up to Feb 2015 to identify studies reporting incidence, prevalence, health care utilization, morbidity, or mortality in COPD and asthma.

Results: A total of 19 studies were included in the present study. The pooled prevalence of overlap among COPD was 27% (95% CI: 0.16-0.38, p<0.0001) and 28% (95% CI: 0.09-0.47, p = 0.0032) in the population and hospital-based studies, respectively. We found no significant difference between ACOS and COPD in terms of gender, smoking status, lung function and 6mWD. However, in comparison to subject with only COPD, ACOS subjects were significantly younger, had higher BMI, healthcare utilization, and lower HRQoL.

Conclusion: ACOS is a common condition that exists in a substantial proportion of subjects with COPD. ACOS represents a distinct clinical phenotype with more frequent exacerbations, hospitalization, worse health-related quality of life, and higher healthcare costs than either disease alone. There is a critical need to better define the management and treatment of this syndrome.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / complications*
  • Asthma / drug therapy
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / complications*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / drug therapy
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Smoking / physiopathology

Grant support

The authors have no support or funding to report.