Comparison of the effects of pulmonary and extra-pulmonary symptoms on health-related quality of life in patients with severe asthma
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OBJECTIVES: To survey the frequency of extra-pulmonary symptoms reported by a sample of patients with severe asthma, their contribution to quality of life and relationship to treatment pathways. METHODS: Consenting patients (N = 100) attending a severe asthma clinic completed questionnaire measures of extra-pulmonary symptoms (the General symptom Questionnaire, GSQ), pulmonary symptoms (Asthma Control Test, ACT), quality of life (the Severe Asthma Questionnaire, SAQ) and health status (EQ-5D-5L). RESULTS: A median of 21 extra-pulmonary symptoms were reported per week. GSQ correlated -0.65 with the ACT and 0.69 with the SAQ. Linear regression showed that both the ACT and GSQ were significant predictors of SAQ mean score, p < 0.001. In patients not receiving biologics, those with high cumulative OCS exposure (≥1120 mg per year) had significantly worse scores (p < 0.05) on all questionnaires except the ACT and GSQ compared to those with low cumulative OCS exposure. DISCUSSION: Extra-pulmonary symptoms were common in this sample of people with severe asthma. Extra-pulmonary and pulmonary symptoms contribute equal variance to the score of HRQoL, showing that they are equally important contributors to patients' experience of severe asthma. Extra-pulmonary symptoms are often overlooked in clinical medicine and in measures of quality of life. Participants receiving biologic treatments had lower extra-pulmonary symptoms possibly indicating that biologics reduce systemic symptoms more effectively than other treatments.
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