Luskin AT, Chipps BE, Rasouliyan L, Miller DP, Haselkorn T, Dorenbaum A. Impact of asthma exacerbations and asthma triggers on asthma-related quality of life in patients with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract. 2014 Sep;2(5):544-52.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.jaip.2014.02.011.

BACKGROUND: Few data are available that evaluate the relationship among asthma exacerbations, asthma triggers, and asthma-related quality of life (QoL).

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the impact of asthma exacerbations and asthma triggers on QoL.

METHODS: Patients with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma, ages greater than or equal to 13 years (n = 2679) from the TENOR (The Epidemiology and Natural History of Asthma: Outcomes and Treatment Regimens) 3-year observational study were included. Exacerbations were defined hierarchically in descending order of severity (hospitalization, emergency department [ED] visit, steroid burst, no exacerbation) by using data from months 6 and 12. The total number (frequency) of exacerbations was assessed. Asthma-related QoL was measured at month 12 by using the Mini-Asthma QoL Questionnaire (Mini-AQLQ); self-reported asthma triggers were collected at baseline and annually. We used 1-way ANOVA to test for differences in Mini-AQLQ domain scores across asthma exacerbation severity, the total number of asthma exacerbations, and the number of asthma triggers.

RESULTS: A significant decrease (P less than .001) in Mini-AQLQ domain scores was seen with increasing severity of asthma exacerbation (no exacerbation, steroid burst, ED visit, and hospitalization); symptom (5.5, 4.8, 4.3, and 4.2), activity (5.8, 5.2, 4.6, and 4.4), emotional (5.6, 5.0, 4.4, and 4.2), exposure (5.0, 4.5, 4.0, and 3.9); and overall (5.5, 4.9, 4.3, and 4.1). Increasing exacerbation frequency and the number of baseline asthma triggers also were associated with significant decreases in Mini-AQLQ domain scores. An increasing number of asthma triggers were associated with an increase in severity and frequency of exacerbations.

CONCLUSION: Avoidance of asthma triggers may reduce exacerbation rates and improve asthma-related QoL in patients with severe or difficult-to-treat asthma. Interventional studies are warranted to further explore these outcomes.

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