BACKGROUND: Asthma exacerbation is episodic worsening of respiratory symptoms in conjunction with the deterioration of lung function, which may occur independently from the asthma severity hampering asthmatics' quality of life. This study aimed to characterize the patient phenotype more prone to asthma exacerbation (oral corticosteroid burst ≥2 per year) to allow the proper identification of such patients.
METHODS: This real-life, observational, cross-sectional study evaluated 464 asthmatic patients stratified according to the asthma exacerbations experienced in the previous year. Clinical, functional, and blood parameters were retrieved from chart data and were representative of patients in stable conditions.
RESULTS: The frequent asthma exacerbator was more commonly female, suffered from chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis, had reduced lung function and peripheral oxygen saturation, and had increased daily activity limitations. These patients often had severe asthma and more frequently needed hospitalization in their lives. Furthermore, the frequent asthma exacerbator had higher concentrations of serum immunoglobulin E (IgE) and exhaled nitric oxide with cut-off risk values of 107.5 kU/L (OR = 4.1) and 43.35 ppb (OR = 3.8), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: This study illustrates the clinical features of the frequent asthma exacerbator phenotype. Nevertheless, serum IgE and exhaled nitric oxide could allow the identification of this phenotype and the establishment of an appropriate therapeutic approach.