Does Asthma Inadvertently Protect Against Life-Threatening Infections?

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Decreased risk for hospital mortality, septicemia, sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock
Decreased risk for hospital mortality, septicemia, sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock

HealthDay News — For patients with infections, those with asthma have reduced risk of sepsis, according to a letter to the editor published online May 22 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Joe G. Zein, MD, from the Cleveland Clinic, and colleagues examined the incidence of sepsis and/or sepsis-related mortality in individuals with asthma, characterized by activation of pro-inflammatory pathways, using data from 5 datasets for patients hospitalized with pneumonia, urinary tract infection, or skin and soft tissue infection. Data were included from the 2012 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project-National Inpatient Sample (NIS), the 2007, 2008, and 2011 NIS, and Cleveland Clinic Health System admissions between 2010 and 2014. 

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The researchers found that patients with asthma had decreased risk for hospital mortality, septicemia, sepsis, severe sepsis, and septic shock (adjusted odds ratios, 0.41, 0.60, 0.59, 0.60, and 0.74, respectively) across all infections in the 2012 NIS data. Within each specific type of infection, risk reductions were also statistically significant. Asthma also correlated with reduced risk for intensive care unit admission and sepsis-related organ failure such as acute kidney injury (adjusted odds ratios, 0.80 and 0.65, respectively). Patients with asthma had shorter hospital length of stay, resulting in lower in-hospital costs. Patients with other atopic conditions had similar risk reduction.

"Five large datasets show a protective association for asthma against sepsis," the authors write.

Abstract
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