According to research performed at Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), sinusitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are associated with severe asthma exacerbations.
The investigators performed a retrospective, cross-sectional analysis of medical claims made from January 2006 to December 2008. The study included 145,950 asthmatics, 73.99% of whom used at least one form of asthma controller therapy. The prevalence of OSA, sinusitis, and GERD was 7.44%, 16.98%, and 17.04%, respectively. Asthma-related hospitalizations were associated with a diagnosis of OSA (ARR 51.71; confidence interval [CI], 1.53 to 1.91), sinusitis (ARR 1.48; CI, 1.36 to 1.61), and GERD (ARR 1.62; CI, 1.50 to 1.76).
Asthma-related ED visits were associated with a diagnosis of OSA (ARR 1.91; CI, 1.40 to 2.54), sinusitis (ARR 1.35; CI, 1.07 to 1.71), and GERD (ARR 1.66; CI, 1.33 to 2.07). Finally, an increased rate of oral steroid bursts was found in patients with OSA (ARR 1.14; CI, 1.11 to 1.17), sinusitis (ARR 1.73; CI, 1.70 to 1.76), and GERD (ARR 1.13; CI, 1.11 to 1.15).