Prevalence and characterization of asthma in hospitalized and nonhospitalized patients with COVID-19

Krishan D. Chhiba, Gayatri B. Patel, Thanh Huyen T. Vu, Michael M. Chen, Amina Guo, Elizabeth Kudlaty, Quan Mai, Chen Yeh, Lutfiyya N. Muhammad, Kathleen E. Harris, Bruce S. Bochner, Leslie C. Grammer, Paul A. Greenberger, Ravi Kalhan, Fei Li Kuang, Carol A. Saltoun, Robert P. Schleimer, Whitney W. Stevens, Anju T. Peters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

158 Scopus citations


Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that patients with moderate to severe asthma belong to a high-risk group that is susceptible to severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, the association between asthma and COVID-19 has not been well-established. Objective: The primary objective was to determine the prevalence of asthma among patients with COVID-19 in a major US health system. We assessed the clinical characteristics and comorbidities in asthmatic and nonasthmatic patients with COVID-19. We also determined the risk of hospitalization associated with asthma and/or inhaled corticosteroid use. Methods: Medical records of patients with COVID-19 were searched by a computer algorithm (March 1 to April 15, 2020), and chart review was used to validate the diagnosis of asthma and medications prescribed for asthma. All patients had PCR-confirmed COVID-19. Demographic and clinical features were characterized. Regression models were used to assess the associations between asthma and corticosteroid use and the risk of COVID-19–related hospitalization. Results: Of 1526 patients identified with COVID-19, 220 (14%) were classified as having asthma. Asthma was not associated with an increased risk of hospitalization (relative risk, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.77-1.19) after adjusting for age, sex, and comorbidities. The ongoing use of inhaled corticosteroids did not increase the risk of hospitalization in a similar adjusted model (relative risk, 1.39; 95% CI, 0.90-2.15). Conclusions: Despite a substantial prevalence of asthma in our COVID-19 cohort, asthma was not associated with an increased risk of hospitalization. Similarly, the use of inhaled corticosteroids with or without systemic corticosteroids was not associated with COVID-19–related hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-314.e4
JournalJournal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • allergic rhinitis
  • asthma
  • corticosteroid
  • long-acting β-agonist
  • morbidity
  • rhinosinusitis
  • risk factors
  • severity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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