Occupational Asthma Reference

Lange P, Ulrik CS, Vestbo J, Mortality in adults with self-reported asthma. Copenhagen City Heart Study Group, Lancet, 1996;347:1285-1289,

Keywords: mortality, asthma, Copenhagen, general population, smoking, sex, death, FEV1

Known Authors

Jorgen Vestbo, Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester Jorgen Vestbo

Peter Lange, Copenhagen, Denmark Peter Lange

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BACKGROUND: On the question of whether asthma shortens survival the published work gives no clear answer. We have prospectively analysed overall and cause-specific mortality in persons with self-reported asthma.

METHODS A sample of 13 540 individuals (6104 men) 20 years of age or older, randomly selected from the general population of the city of Copenhagen, was followed for 17 years.

FINDINGS: Survival in participants with self-reported asthma was significantly poorer than in non-asthmatics, the excess mortality being limited to pulmonary mortality. After statistical adjustment for age, length of school education, and smoking, women with asthma had a 1.7 higher risk of dying than women without asthma (95% confidence interval 1.3--2.2). Although the relative risk (RR) of dying with asthma was slightly lower in men (RR = 1.5, 95% Cl 1.2-1.9) the difference between sexes was not significant. The results were similar within smoking groups and the highest risk of death associated with asthma was seen among never-smokers (RR = 2.1, 95% Cl 1.6-2.3). Inclusion of one-second forced expiratory volume, in % predicted, in the mortality analyses showed that the increased risk of death associated with asthma was mediated mainly through reduced lung function.

INTERPRETATION: We conclude that, in the general population, self-reported asthma is associated with a slight excess of mortality, mainly from respiratory diseases

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