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Current Asthma Ruled Out for One-in-Three Diagnosed Adults

Those in whom current asthma was ruled out less likely to have undergone testing for airflow limitation


TUESDAY, Jan. 17, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- About one-third of adults with a history of physician-diagnosed asthma within the past five years have no evidence of asthma, according to a study published in the Jan. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Shawn D. Aaron, M.D., from the University of Ottawa in Canada, and colleagues conducted a prospective, multicenter cohort study in 10 Canadian cities involving 613 adults with a history of physician-diagnosed asthma established within the past five years. Participants underwent assessment with home peak flow and symptom monitoring, spirometry, and serial bronchial challenge tests; medications were gradually tapered off over four study visits among those using daily asthma medications.

The researchers ruled out current asthma in 203 study participants (33.1 percent). Twelve patients (2.0 percent) had serious cardiorespiratory conditions that had been misdiagnosed as asthma. Overall, 181 participants (29.5 percent) continued to exhibit no clinical or laboratory evidence of asthma after an additional 12 months of follow-up. Compared with participants in whom asthma was confirmed, those in whom current asthma was ruled out were less likely to have undergone testing for airflow limitation in the community at the time of the initial diagnosis (43.8 versus 55.6 percent).

"Among adults with physician-diagnosed asthma, a current diagnosis of asthma could not be established in 33.1 percent who were not using daily asthma medications or had medications weaned," the authors write. "In patients such as these, reassessing the asthma diagnosis may be warranted."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Methapharm, which supplied provocholine; Trudell Medical supplied peak flow meters.

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