Asthma-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap syndrome (ACOS) is a loosely-defined clinical entity referring to patients who exhibit characteristics of both asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Clinical definitions and classifications for ACOS vary widely, which impacts our understanding of prevalence, diagnosis and treatment of the condition. This literature review was therefore conducted to characterize the prevalence of ACOS and the effect of different disease definitions on these estimates, as this has not previously been explored. From an analysis of English language literature published from 2000 to 2014, the estimated prevalence of ACOS ranges from 12.1% to 55.2% among patients with COPD and 13.3%-61.0% among patients with asthma alone. This variability is linked to differences in COPD and asthma diagnostic criteria, disease ascertainment methods (spirometry-based versus clinical or symptom-based diagnoses and claims data), and population characteristics including age, gender and smoking. Understanding the reasons for differences in prevalence estimates of ACOS across the literature may help guide decision making on the most appropriate criteria for defining ACOS and aid investigators in designing future ACOS clinical studies aimed at effective treatment.
Keywords: Asthma; Asthma-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap syndrome; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
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