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Increased Disease Severity for Patients With COPD, Asthma Overlap

September 21, 2018

Patients with asthma-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) overlap experience greater disease burden compared with patients with asthma or COPD alone, according to a study published online in the International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

“These results suggest that asthma-COPD overlap represents an important subgroup that requires early identification and intervention with tailored therapies,” researchers wrote.

The findings stem from an analysis of US population-based data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers identified 1609 participants with asthma, 479 participants with COPD, and 299 participants with asthma-COPD overlap and compared a handful of markers for each group, such as health status, healthcare resource utilization, and clinical characteristics.

Participants with asthma-COPD overlap demonstrated worse health status, increased disease burden, and more comorbid conditions compared with those with either asthma or COPD, the study found. When researchers compared participants with asthma-COPD overlap with age-matched participants with asthma alone, they found participants with asthma-COPD overlap showed lower percent predicted prebronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second (82.1% vs 88%). Participants with asthma-COPD overlap also had significantly more asthma attacks in the past year compared with age-matched participants with asthma only.

Other results showed that the asthma-COPD overlap group had more participants with postbronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second <80% predicted compared with the COPD-alone group. The asthma-COPD overlap group also had more participants with blood eosinophil counts ≥400 cells/µL compared with the COPD-alone group and the age-matched asthma-alone subgroup.

“[T]his study shows that asthma-COPD overlap shares characteristics of both asthma and COPD, but is associated with greater disease burden and severity, worse health status, more health care resource utilization, lower lung function, and higher incidence of comorbidities than asthma or COPD alone,” researchers wrote. “The increased blood eosinophil counts in the asthma-COPD overlap group relative to the asthma and COPD groups warrant further investigation.”

Jolynn Tumolo

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