Severe and non-severe asthma in the community: A large electronic database analysis

Shabtai Varsano, David Segev, David Shitrit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background A large electronic database analysis was conducted in a community of 351,799 people, ages 20–70 years to determine the prevalence and clinical characteristics of severe asthma, according to 2014 international guidelines and healthcare utilization. Methods Severe asthmatics were grouped into controlled severe-asthma and uncontrolled severe-asthma and additional subgroups of uncontrolled severe asthma on the basis of medications dispensed. Non-asthmatic population at the same ages served as controls. Results A total of 19,991 (5.68%) were diagnosed as asthmatic, of which 4.65% had severe asthma. Of these, one-third was uncontrolled severe-asthma. Controlled severe-asthma group was similar to non-severe asthma and non-asthmatics in the rate of emergency room visits (21.5%, 22%, and 20%, respectively) and to all cause hospitalizations (7.4%, 7.4%, and 6.4%, respectively). Uncontrolled severe-asthmatics had significantly more hospitalizations (RR = 2.9) than controlled severe-asthmatics. Only 19.2% of uncontrolled-severe asthmatics had IgE testing and 3.6% were dispensed omalizumab. Conclusions The prevalence of severe asthma is slightly less than 5% of all asthmatics. Controlling severe asthma is crucial to reducing healthcare utilization. A simple electronic database analysis, based on dispensed medications, can help healthcare providers identify subgroups of uncontrolled severe asthmatics that require focused efforts. Clinical trial registration: NCT01961258. Ethics Committee approval: 032/2013C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-139
Number of pages9
JournalRespiratory Medicine
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


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