Asthma May Not Be a Significant Risk Factor for Severe COVID-19
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:
Asthma is currently listed as a risk factor for severe COVID-19 by the CDC
However, numbers of individuals with asthma are low across many international studies
Broadhurst et al. (Annals of the American Thoracic Society, 2020) sought to determine, using larger datasets, if asthma is a risk factor for COVID-19
compared the prevalence of asthma among patients hospitalized for COVID-19 to that of the population asthma prevalence and to the 4-year average asthma prevalence in influenza hospitalizations in the United States
Literature review and meta-analysis
PubMed, EMBASE, Cochrane, Medline, and MMWR through May 7, 2020
Published studies reporting COVID-19 hospitalizations with reported asthma prevalence
Three independent reviewers assessed studies for inclusion
Multivariable logistic regression used to determine the effect of asthma status on intubation status
15 studies were included
Asthma: 53 patients
No asthma: 383 patients
The proportion of asthmatics among hospitalized COVID-19 patients was similar to the population asthma prevalence
Asthma pooled prevalence 6.8% (95% CI, 3.7 to 10.7)
The number of people with asthma hospitalized for influenza (2019-2020) was much higher than the number of people with asthma hospitalized for COVID-19
Asthmatics hospitalized with influenza: 24.1%
Asthmatic hospitalized with COVID-19: 6.8%
COVID-19 patients with asthma were not more likely than non-asthmatics to be intubated
Odds ratio 0.69 (95% CI, 0.33 to 1.45)
There is little evidence to suggest that people with asthma are at higher risk of severe COVID-19
The authors acknowledge that data is still limited however
While there is variable asthma prevalence among COVID-19 published studies, it appears similar to population prevalence, and certainly much lower than what would be expected during seasonal flu
The results of this study suggest that asthma does not appear to be a significant risk factor for developing severe COVID-19 requiring hospitalization or intubation.
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