Asthma poses no additional burden on COVID-19 patients

12 Nov 2020

Asthma does not seem to worsen outcomes of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in patients under 65 years of age, regardless of comorbidities or obesity, a recent study has found.

Accessing electronic health records of 1,298 patients, aged ≤65 years, the researchers sought to determine the impacts of asthma, with diagnosis delivered in the preceding 5 years, on COVID-19 outcomes. Primary clinical endpoints included length of stay, intubation, and duration of ventilation. None of the patients had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Of the participants, 12.6 percent (n=163) had an underlying asthma diagnosis. This group was generally similar to their counterparts who did not have asthma, except for having a significantly greater proportion of females (59 percent vs 39 percent; p<0.01) and obese participants (52 percent vs 39 percent; p<0.01).

Both groups were likewise statistically comparable in terms of outcomes. There were nine deaths in the asthma subgroup and 101 in the no-asthma arm. The resulting mortality rates, 6 percent and 9 percent, respectively, were not significantly different (p=0.18).

Similarly, the rates of intubation (21 percent vs 20 percent; p=0.92), tracheostomy (6 percent vs percent; p=1.00), and readmission (5 percent vs 5 percent; p=0.70) were comparable between asthmatic patients and controls. The same was true for the median length of hospital stay (6 vs 5 days; p=0.25).

Stratifying the patients according to age (<21, 21–39, and 40–65 years) did not yield meaningful changes in the principal results, such that outcomes remained comparable regardless of asthma status.

In contrast, the researchers reported important differences in laboratory results and medication. C-reactive protein, D-dimer, ferritin, and glucose levels were all suppressed in asthmatic patients, while the use of systemic steroids was higher.

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