Background: Data on the risk of death following an asthma exacerbation are scarce. With this multinational cohort study, we assessed all-cause mortality rates, mortality rates following an exacerbation, and patient characteristics associated with all-cause mortality in asthma. Methods: Asthma patients aged ≥18 years and with ≥1 year of follow-up were identified in 5 European electronic databases from the Netherlands, Italy, UK, Denmark and Spain during the study period January 1, 2008–December 31, 2013. Patients with asthma-COPD overlap were excluded. Severe asthma was defined as use of high dose ICS + use of a second controller. Severe asthma exacerbations were defined as emergency department visits, hospitalizations or systemic corticosteroid use, all for reason of asthma. Results: The cohort consisted of 586,436 asthma patients of which 42,611 patients (7.3%) had severe asthma. The age and sex standardized all-cause mortality rates ranged between databases from 5.2 to 9.5/1000 person-years (PY) in asthma, and between 11.3 and 14.8/1000 PY in severe asthma. The all-cause mortality rate in the first week following a severe asthma exacerbation ranged between 14.1 and 59.9/1000 PY. Mortality rates remained high in the first month following a severe asthma exacerbation and decreased thereafter. Higher age, male gender, comorbidity, smoking, and previous severe asthma exacerbations were associated with mortality. Conclusion: All-cause mortality following a severe exacerbation is high, especially in the first month following the event. Smoking cessation, comorbidity-management and asthma-treatment focusing on the prevention of exacerbations might reduce associated mortality.

Asthma epidemiology, Cohort studies, Mortality, Severe asthma,
Respiratory Medicine
Department of Medical Informatics

Engelkes, M, de Ridder, M.A.J, Svensson, E. (Elisabeth), Berencsi, K, Prieto-Alhambra, D. (Daniel), Lapi, F, … Verhamme, K.M.C. (2020). Multinational cohort study of mortality in patients with asthma and severe asthma. Respiratory Medicine, 165. doi:10.1016/j.rmed.2020.105919