Lung Infections

Asthma Increases the Risk of Hospitalization for Serious Infections

Hospitalization for serious infections is higher among patients with asthma than those without asthma, according to the results of a recent study presented at ACAAI 2020. The only exception is for hospitalizations for pneumonia, which has significantly decreased over time for patients with asthma.

To better understand the rate at which individuals with asthma are hospitalized for serious infections, the researchers utilized data from the National Inpatient Sample (NIS) to analyze 23,747,081 hospitalizations for individuals with asthma and 410,694,657 without asthma. Trends were examined from 2001 to 2014 from the NIS. Of the patients included, 71% were women, with a mean age of 54 years for those hospitalized with asthma.

Included in the data were patients aged 18 years or older with asthma that had been validated using ICD-9 codes at a secondary diagnosis position. The primary diagnosis position identified serious infections using validated ICD-9 codes.

The researchers measured the proportion of hospitalizations for each infection type via the number of individuals discharged with a primary diagnosis of infection, divided by the total number of hospitalizations for patients with and without asthma.

The results indicated that hospitalizations for severe infections were higher in individuals with asthma (10%) than those without asthma (7%). In both groups, pneumonia had the highest proportion of hospitalizations, followed by cellulitis and sepsis.

In both groups, the researchers observed a significant increase in both sepsis and cellulitis hospitalizations. However, the researchers noted a significant decrease in pneumonia hospitalizations for patients with asthma over time (1.65% per year). In patients without asthma, there was a significant increase in pneumonia hospitalizations (1.09% per year).   

“Our study showed a higher proportion of hospitalizations for serious infections in patients with asthma possibly secondary to decrease TH-1-immunity,” the researchers concluded. “Why there is a decrease in pneumonia over time in patients with asthma is an interesting research question.”

—Leigh Precopio


Shrestha P, Chiarella S, Craig T. P212 Trends in hospitalization for serious infections in patients with asthma in the US. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2020;125(5):S30-S31. doi:10.1016/J.ANAI.2020.08.109