Asthma Subtype Influences Risk of COVID-19 Hospitalization, Death

Patients with allergic asthma are at a lower risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19 than patients with nonallergic asthma, according to a recent study.

Thomas R. Murphy, MD, of the ENT and Allergy Partners of Charleston, and colleagues conducted the study to “compare COVID-19 outcomes in real-world cohorts in the United States among patients with asthma, with or without evidence of allergy” and published its results in BMC Pulmonary Medicine.

Dr. Murphy and colleagues performed the study because while “asthma does not appear to be a risk factor for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), outcomes could vary for patients with different asthma subtypes.”

They conducted a retrospective analysis of information collected February 20, 2020, to January 28, 2021, in the COVID-19 Optum electronic health record dataset. The dataset included 519,198 patients who had COVID-19 during that period.

The researchers identified 1595 patients with allergic asthma who had COVID-19 and 8204 patients with nonallergic asthma who had COVID-19. Dr. Murphy and colleagues performed 1:1 propensity score matching to balance covariates (n=1578 per cohort).

Patients with allergic asthma had a significantly lower risk of death from any cause after a COVID-19 diagnosis than patients with nonallergic asthma (hazard ratio, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.28-0.83; P=.0087).

Furthermore, a significantly smaller proportion of patents with allergic asthma were hospitalized between 7 days before and 30 days after their COVID-19 diagnosis (13.8%) than patients with nonallergic asthma (18.3%; P=.0005).

However, among the patients who were hospitalized with COVID-19, there was no significant difference between patients with allergic asthma and nonallergic asthma in the need for respiratory support, COVID-19 treatment, or intensive care unit admission.

“Asthma subtype may influence outcomes after COVID-19; patients with allergic asthma are at lower risk for hospitalization/death than those with nonallergic asthma,” Dr. Murphy and colleagues concluded.

Murphy TR, Busse W, Holweg CTJ, et al. Patients with allergic asthma have lower risk of severe COVID-19 outcomes than patients with nonallergic asthma. BMC Pulm Med. 2022;22(1):418. doi:10.1186/s12890-022-02230-5