Comorbidities are associated with different features of severe asthma

Clin Mol Allergy. 2018 Dec 3:16:25. doi: 10.1186/s12948-018-0103-x. eCollection 2018.


Background: According to ATS/ERS document on severe asthma (SA), the management of these patients requires the identification and proper treatment of comorbidities, which can influence the control of asthma.

Methods: The aim of this study was to assess the independent effect of different comorbidities on clinical, functional and biologic features of SA. Seventy-two patients with SA according to GINA guidelines were examined. We collected demographic data, smoking habit, asthma history, and assessment of comorbidities. Pulmonary function, inflammatory biomarkers, upper airway disease evaluation, asthma control and quality of life were carefully assessed.

Results: The mean age of patients was 59.1 years (65.3% female, 5.6% current smokers). Comorbidities with higher prevalence were: chronic rhinosinusitis with or without nasal polyps (CRSwNP or CRSsNP), obesity and gastro-esophageal reflux (GERD), with some overlapping among them. In an univariate analysis comparing patients with single comorbidities with the other ones, asthmatics with CRSwNP had lower lung function and higher sputum eosinophilia; obese asthmatics had worse asthma control and quality of life, and tended to have lower sputum eosinophils; asthmatics with GERD showed worse quality of life. In multivariate analysis, obesity was the only independent factor associated with poor asthma control (OR 4.9), while CRSwNP was the only independent factor associated with airway eosinophilia (OR 16.2). Lower lung function was associated with the male gender and longer duration of asthma (OR 3.9 and 5.1, respectively) and showed a trend for the association with nasal polyps (OR 2.9, p = 0.06).

Conclusion: Our study suggests that coexisting comorbidities are associated with different features of SA.

Keywords: Asthma control; Comorbidities; Nasal polyps; Severe asthma; Sputum eosinophils.