Infectious Diseases

02 June 2020

Asthma ups ventilator needs of younger adults with Covid-19

According to researchers, patients with asthma between 20 and 59 years of age needed a ventilator five days longer than patients without asthma in that age group.

Young to middle-aged asthmatics who are hospitalised for Covid-19 are likely to be on a ventilator longer than patients without asthma, new research reports.

Patients with asthma who were between 20 and 59 years of age needed a ventilator to help with breathing five days longer than patients without asthma in that age group, researchers reported.

"Among the patients who developed severe respiratory symptoms requiring intubation [the use of a ventilator], asthma was associated with a significantly longer intubation time in the younger group of patients who would seemingly have a better disease course than patients over the age of 65," said lead author Dr Mahboobeh Mahdavinia. She's chief of allergy and immunology in the Department of Internal Medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

"Our findings suggest that younger individuals with asthma may require extra attention, as they could develop a sustained pulmonary failure with Covid-19 infection, leading to prolonged mechanical ventilation," Mahdavinia said in a hospital news release.

Asthma and obesity connected

For the study, the research team looked at 935 patients with Covid-19. Of those, 241 had asthma.

The researchers found that asthma resulted in longer times on a ventilator for 18- to 64-year-old patients, but not for those 65 and older. Hospital stays were also longer.

Asthma, however, wasn't linked with a greater risk of premature death or with acute respiratory distress syndrome.

"We found that asthma and obesity are connected in Covid-19 patients, which means that obesity coupled with asthma puts a patient at a significantly higher risk," Mahdavinia said.

The researchers, however, found that asthma alone was a predictor of a longer time spent on a ventilator.

The report was published on 14 May in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

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