Asthma control in elderly asthmatics. An Italian observational study

M. Milanese, F. Di Marco, A. G. Corsico, G. Rolla, B. Sposato, F. Chieco-Bianchi, M. T. Costantino, M. A. Crivellaro, G. Guarnieri, N. Scichilone

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Background The exponential increase of individuals aged >64 yrs is expected to impact the burden of asthma. We aimed to explore the level of asthma control in elderly subjects, and factors influencing it. Methods A multicenter observational study was performed on consecutive patients >64 years old with a documented physician-diagnosis of asthma. Sixteen Italian centers were involved in this 6-month project. Findings A total of 350 patients were enrolled in the study. More than one-third of elderly asthmatic patients, despite receiving GINA step 3-4 antiasthmatic therapy, had an Asthma Control Test score ≤19, with a quarter experiencing at least one severe asthma exacerbation in the previous year. Twenty-nine percent of patients (n = 101) were classified as having Asthma-COPD Overlap Syndrome (ACOS) due to the presence of chronic bronchitis and/or CO lung diffusion impairment. This subgroup of patients had lower mean Asthma Control Test scores and more exacerbations compared to the asthmatic patients (18 ± 4 compared to 20 ± 4, p <0.01, and 43% compared to 18%, p <0.01, respectively). Modified Medical Research Council dyspnea mMRC scores and airway obstruction, assessed on the basis of a FEV1/FVC ratio below the lower limit of normal, were more severe in ACOS than in asthma, without any difference in responses to salbutamol. In a multivariate analysis, the mMRC dyspnea score, FEV1% of predicted and the coexistence of COPD were the only variables to enter the model. Interpretation Our results highlight the need to specifically evaluate the coexistence of features of COPD in elderly asthmatics, a factor that worsens asthma control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1099
Number of pages9
JournalRespiratory Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Asthma
  • Asthma control test
  • Elderly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Medicine(all)


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