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Severe asthma morbidity and mortality

Patients with severe asthma are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality compared with the general population. 1This is linked to both the disease and the medications used to treat their disease. 1–3

Asthma-related deaths

The likelihood of deaths related to severe asthma increases with disease severity. 1

In a US study, in which patients were followed for an average of 2 years, the mortality rate was 6.7 per 100 patient–years (an age- and gender-standardised ratio of 367% relative to the general population), with risk increasing in line with asthma severity.

Omachi, et al. 2008. 1

Showing combined data for males and females ≥20 years in the UK between 1979 and 2011. 4

One of the strongest predictors of asthma-related death is asthma-related hospitalisation, which includes hospitalisation as a result of an exacerbation. 4

A systematic review published in 2005 found that a history of hospital and/or intensive care unit admissions significantly increased the odds of a near fatal or fatal asthma event, with an odds ratio of 2.62 (95% CI: 1.04–6.58; p=0.04) for hospital admission and 5.14 (95% CI: 1.91–13.86; p=0.001) for intensive care unit admissions.

Alvarez et al. 2005 4


  1. Omachi TA, et al. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 2008;101:130–6.
  2. Walsh LJ, et al. Thorax 2001;56:279–84.
  3. Walsh LJ, et al. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2002;166:691–5.
  4. Alvarez GG, et al. Can Respir J 2005;12:265–70.