Bronchial hyperresponsiveness and the development of asthma and COPD in asymptomatic individuals: SAPALDIA Cohort Study

Brutsche, M. H.; Downs, S. H.; Schindler, C.; Gerbase, M. W.; Schwartz, J.; Frey, M.; Russi, E. W.; Ackermann-Liebrich, U.; Leuenberger, P.
August 2006
Thorax;Aug2006, Vol. 61 Issue 8, p671
Academic Journal
Background: Bronchial hyperrespansiveness (BHR) is a common feature of asthma. However, BHR is also present in asymptomatic individuals and its clinical and prognostic significance is unclear. We hypothesised that BHR might play a role in the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as well as asthma. Methods: In 1991 respiratory symptoms and BHR to methacholine were evaluated in 7126 of the 9651 participants in the SAPALDIA cohort study. Eleven years later 5825 of these participants were reevaluated, of whom 4852 performed spirometric tests. COPD was defined as an FEV1/FVC ratio of <0.70. Results: In 1991 17% of participants had 8HR, of whom 51% were asymptomatic. Eleven years later the prevalence of asthma, wheeze, and shortness of breath in formerly asymptomatic subjects with or without BHR was, respectively, 5.7% v 2.0%, 8.3% v 3.4%, and 19.1% v 11.9% (all p<0.001). Similar differences were observed for chronic cough (5.9% v 2.3%; p = 0.002) and COPD (37.9% v 14.3%; p<0.001 ). BHR conferred on adjusted odds ratio (OR) of 2.9 (95% CI 1.8 to 4.5) for wheezing at follow up among asymptomatic participants. The adjusted OR for COPD was 4.5 (95% CI 3.3 to 6.0). Silent BHR was associated with a significantly accelerated decline in FEV1 by 12 (5-18), 11 (5-16), and 4 (2-8) ml/year in current smokers, former smokers and never smokers, respectively, at SAPALDIA 2. Conclusions: BHR is a risk factor for an accelerated decline in FEVI and the development of asthma and COPD, irrespective of atopic status. Current smokers with BHR have o particularly high loss of FEV1.


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