THURSDAY, May 21, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Among COVID-19 patients who develop severe respiratory symptoms requiring intubation, asthma is associated with a significantly longer intubation time, according to a study published online May 14 in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice.

Mahboobeh Mahdavinia, M.D., Ph.D., from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and colleagues used electronic medical records to identify demographic and clinical factors, including asthma, asthma-related variables, and variables related to COVID-19 infection. The analysis included 935 patients with a positive COVID-19 test between March 12 and April 3, 2020, in either an on-demand COVID-19 telemedicine clinic or the emergency department.

The researchers found that 25.8 percent of patients had an established asthma diagnosis. Asthma rates were similar in all age groups, but asthma was significantly associated with female gender and higher body mass index. There was a significant association between asthma and longer mean intubation time (10.17 versus 5.28 days in patients with versus without asthma). Longer intubation time was seen in patients aged 18 to 49 years old and patients aged 50 to 64 years old, but not in those ≥65 years old. There was a trend toward longer mean hospitalization among patients with a history of asthma versus those without in patients aged 50 to 64 years (10.64 versus 8.11 days in patients with versus without asthma). There was no association noted between asthma and death rate or acute respiratory distress syndrome among COVID-19 patients.

“Our findings suggest that younger individuals with asthma may require extra attention, as they could develop a sustained pulmonary failure with COVID-19 infection, leading to prolonged mechanical ventilation,” Mahdavinia said in a statement.

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