Background: We aimed to explore long-term predictors of severe exacerbations and mortality in adults with well-characterised asthma. Study design and methods: Adults (aged ≥ 15) with an objectively verified diagnosis of asthma were recruited from a Danish respiratory outpatient clinic between 1974 and 1990. All individuals were followed in Danish registries for vital status, hospital admissions for asthma and cause of death until end of 2017. Predictors of exacerbations were obtained from a repeated measures model. Standardised mortality rates (SMR) for all-causes were compared with the Danish background population. Hazard ratios for mortality were obtained from a cox proportional hazards model in a two-step process. Results: At baseline, the cohort comprised 1071 patients (mean age 38, SD 16, 61% women), of whom 357 (33%) died during follow-up, with 93 (26%) dying from asthma (primary diagnosis). We found an SMR of 1.24 (95% CI 1.11–1.37, p < 0.001) for all-cause mortality. Baseline predictors for asthma-related death and repeated severe exacerbations were increasing age, ever smoker, FEV 1 < 80% pred., high blood eosinophils, longer duration of symptoms and use of SABA > twice daily. Being non-atopic, having a positive histamine challenge test and symptoms more than twice a week were also predictors of repeated exacerbations. Conclusions: Markers of poor asthma control, including high use of SABA, are predictors of long-term exacerbation rate and mortality over 30 years in patients with well-characterised asthma. Improving asthma control, including lung function and reducing use of reliever medication, is vital for improving the long-term outcome of asthma.
- Airway hyperresponsiveness