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J Asthma. 2005 Dec;42(10):859-64.

Relationship between lung function and asthma symptoms in patients with difficult to control asthma.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Jordan. aburuz@ju.edu.jo


Several studies have demonstrated a poor relationship between measures of asthma control and lung function in patients with asthma. We sought to examine this relationship in a cohort of difficult to control asthmatics attending a hospital outpatient clinic. FEV1 % and asthma control scores (ACSs) were measured at the first clinic visit and at a follow-up visit. A total of 59 patients took part in the study. At the initial visit, FEV1 % correlated with limitation of activity (p = 0.002), shortness of breath (p = 0.02), wheezing (p = 0.029), and ACS (p = 0.014). However, at follow-up, there was no correlation between FEV1 % and any measured index of asthma control. When patients with severe fixed airflow obstruction were excluded from the analysis (n = 16), FEV1 % at follow-up became significantly correlated with night waking (p = 0.02), wheezing (p = 0.05), and ACS (p = 0.036). The improvement in asthma control score at follow-up was significantly and strongly associated (r = 0.51 for total asthma control, p < 0.001) with the improvement in lung function in patients without severe fixed airflow obstruction. Lung function was not associated with any measure of asthma control in patients with severe fixed airflow obstruction. FEV1 % correlates well with asthma symptoms in difficult asthma patients with poor control but not when control improves. This loss of relationship is due to subjects with severe fixed airflow obstruction where good subjective control does not exclude the presence of significant obstruction. How severe fixed airflow obstruction should be prevented, delayed, or managed in asthma requires further research.

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