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Evidence for distinct asthma phenotypes and their overlap is becoming increasingly relevant to identify personalized and targeted therapeutic strategies. In this study, we aimed to describe the overlap of five commonly reported asthma phenotypes in US adults with current asthma and assess its association with asthma outcomes.
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) 2007–2012 were used (n = 30,442). Adults with current asthma were selected. Asthma phenotypes were: B-Eos-high [if blood eosinophils (B-Eos) ≥ 300/mm3]; FeNO-high (FeNO ≥ 35 ppb); B-Eos&FeNO-low (B-Eos < 150/mm3 and FeNO < 20 ppb); asthma with obesity (AwObesity) (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2); and asthma with concurrent COPD. Data were weighted for the US population and analyses were stratified by age (< 40 and ≥ 40 years old).
Of the 18,619 adults included, 1059 (5.6% [95% CI 5.1–5.9]) had current asthma. A substantial overlap was observed both in subjects aged < 40 years (44%) and ≥ 40 years (54%). The more prevalent specific overlaps in both age groups were AwObesity associated with either B-Eos-high (15 and 12%, respectively) or B-Eos&FeNO-low asthma (13 and 11%, respectively). About 14% of the current asthma patients were “non-classified”. Regardless of phenotype classification, having concomitant phenotypes was significantly associated with (adjusted OR, 95% CI) ≥ 2 controller medications (2.03, 1.16–3.57), and FEV1 < LLN (3.21, 1.74–5.94), adjusted for confounding variables.
A prevalent overlap of commonly reported asthma phenotypes was observed among asthma patients from the general population, with implications for objective asthma outcomes. A broader approach may be required to better characterize asthma patients and prevent poor asthma outcomes.