Brazilian Journal of Pulmonology

ISSN (on-line): 1806-3756 | ISSN (printed): 1806-3713


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Clinical characteristics and prognosis in near-fatal asthma patients in Salvador, Brazil

Características clínicas e prognóstico em pacientes com asma quase fatal em Salvador, Bahia

Eduardo Vieira Ponte, Adelmir Souza-Machado, Carolina Souza-Machado, Rosana Franco, Álvaro Augusto Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2011;37(4):431-437

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To determine the frequency of near-fatal asthma in a group of severe asthma patients, as well as the clinical characteristics and prognosis of these patients within a one-year follow-up period. Methods: A prospective study involving 731 low-income patients with severe asthma treated at a referral outpatient clinic located in the city of Salvador, Brazil. The patients were submitted to spirometry at admission, received medications for asthma, and were monitored regarding the frequency of asthma exacerbations during the follow-up period. A subsample of 511 patients also completed questionnaires regarding asthma symptoms and asthma-related quality of life. Results: Of the 731 patients studied, 563 (77%) were female. The median age was 47 years, and 12% were illiterate. Most of the patients had rhinitis, and 70 patients (10%) reported near-fatal asthma prior to admission. Of these 70 patients, 41 (59%) reported having been intubated previously. The patients reporting a history of near-fatal asthma at admission were more likely to have asthma exacerbations during the follow-up period and to respond poorly to therapy than were those not reporting such a history. At the end of the follow-up period, the scores on the two questionnaires were similar between the two groups of patients. Conclusions: The frequency of near-fatal asthma was high in this group of low-income patients with severe asthma. The patients with a history of near-fatal asthma had a worse prognosis than did those without such a history, although both groups had received the same kind of treatment. Curiously, the intensity of symptoms and the quality of life at the end of the study were similar between the two groups.


Keywords: Asthma/prevention and control; Asthma/complications; Quality of life; Prognosis.


Causes of death in asthma patients enrolled in the Bahia State Program for the Control of Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis

Causas de óbitos entre asmáticos graves admitidos no Programa de Controle da Asma e da Rinite Alérgica na Bahia

Adelmir Souza-Machado, Carolina Souza-Machado, Daisy Freitas Silva, Eduardo Vieira Ponte, Alvaro A. Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2007;33(4):372-379

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To report demographic and clinical characteristics of patients with asthma who evolved to death, as well as to describe the conditions related to this outcome in a subgroup of patients admitted to the Program for the Control of Asthma and Rhinitis in Bahia (ProAR). Methods: A descriptive, retrospective, observational study. Data from clinical charts and death certificates of 16 patients of 930 subjects with severe asthma monitored at the ProAR Central Reference Center from December 2003 to June 2006 were reviewed. Results: Of the 930 patients participating in the program, 16 (1.72%) died. Of these, there were 10 males and 6 females, ranging in age from 39 to 74 years (median, 55 years); 12 (75%) of the patients were black. Time since diagnosis ranged from 1 to 68 years (median, 30 years). In 43.8 and 53.8%, respectively, there was a personal or family history of atopy. Ex-smokers (<10 pack-years) accounted for 37.5% of the cases. Causes of death listed on the death certificates were as follows: asthma or asthma exacerbations in 8 (50%); respiratory failure in 3 (18.75%); acute heart infarction in 2 (12.5%); hepatitis in 1 (6.25%); hypovolemic shock in 1 (6.25%); and cardiorespiratory arrest in 1 (6.25%). Of the 16 deaths, 13 (81.25%) occurred inside hospitals. Conclusion: Asphyxia and cardiovascular diseases were the most common atributed causes of mortality in this subgroup of patients with severe asthma. Hospital-based mortality, male gender, advanced age, long-term disease and fixed airflow obstruction were the aspects most frequently observed in the cases studied.


Keywords: Mortality; Rhinitis/treatment; Asthma/treatment; Cardiovascular diseases.


Comparison between two methods of asthma control evaluation based on individual perception

Comparação entre dois métodos de avaliação do controle da asma baseados na percepção individual

Paula Cristina Andrade Almeida, Adelmir Souza-Machado, Mylene dos Santos Leite, Lourdes Alzimar Mendes de Castro, Ana Carla Carvalho Coelho, Constança Sampaio Cruz, Álvaro Augusto Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2012;38(3):299-307

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To compare the subjective perception of asthma control reported by the patient with that measured by the score obtained on the Asthma Control Questionnaire 6-item version (ACQ-6) in patients with severe asthma and to determine whether asthma control is associated with the number of emergency room visits in the previous month. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving 528 patients treated at the Bahia State Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis Control Program Central Referral Clinic between August of 2008 and March of 2010, in the city of Salvador, Brazil. The patients completed the ACQ-6 and answered a specific additional question in order to evaluate their own perception of asthma control in the previous week. Results: We evaluated 423 patients who met the inclusion criteria. The sample was predominantly female (81.3%), and 64.3% had an income lower than two times the national minimum wage. The mean age was 49.85 ± 13.71 years, and the duration of asthma symptoms was 32.11 ± 16.35 years. The patients had been regularly treated via the program for 36.65 ± 18.10 months. Based on the subjective perception of asthma control, only 8% of the patients considered their asthma to be uncontrolled, whereas 38.8% had an ACQ-6 score  1.5, which indicates poor control. The kappa statistic revealed poor concordance between the two methods. There was a direct association between uncontrolled asthma and the number of emergency room visits in the previous month (p < 0.001). Conclusions: In this sample of patients, the subjective perception of asthma control differed from that measured by the ACQ-6 score, and the patients overestimated their own level of asthma control, which puts them at risk of being undertreated.


Keywords: Asthma; Health services; Questionnaires.


Acute breathlessness and sudden death in a patient with blunted perception of the intensity of bronchial obstruction

Dispnéia aguda e morte súbita em paciente com má percepção da intensidade da obstrução brônquica

Adelmir Souza-Machado, Gustavo Alcoforado, Álvaro A. Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2001;27(6):341-344

Abstract PDF PT

Patients with severe asthma and blunted perception of their bronchial obstruction are likely to have elevated risk of death from asthma. The authors describe the case of a 52-year-old woman with asthma whose test results, in a prospective study for the identification of patients with blunted perception of the intensity of their own bronchial obstruction, showed the minimum score in the analogic visual scale in the presence of reduced morning FEV1 and EFP. After the study, the patient was seen at the outpatient clinic. He had no complaints, seemed normal at physical examination and reported to be using no medication at all. Then, while still in the clinic, he suddenly developed dyspnea, respiratory failure, and non-revertible cardio-respiratory failure. Blunted perception of the bronchial obstruction severity probably contributed to the development of acute respiratory failure and death of the patient.


Keywords: Dyspnea. Asthma. Bronchial spasm. Death. Perception.


Local adverse effects associated with the use of inhaled corticosteroids in patients with moderate or severe asthma

Eventos adversos locais associados ao uso de corticosteroides inalatórios em pacientes com asma moderada ou grave

Charleston Ribeiro Pinto, Natalie Rios Almeida, Thamy Santana Marques, Laira Lorena Lima Yamamura, Lindemberg Assunção Costa, Adelmir Souza-Machado

J Bras Pneumol.2013;39(4):-

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

To describe and characterize local adverse effects (in the oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx) associated with the use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) in patients with moderate or severe asthma. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving a convenience sample of 200 asthma patients followed in the Department of Pharmaceutical Care of the Bahia State Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis Control Program Referral Center, located in the city of Salvador, Brazil. The patients were ≥ 18 years of age and had been using ICSs regularly for at least 6 months. Local adverse effects (irritation, pain, dry throat, throat clearing, hoarseness, reduced vocal intensity, loss of voice, sensation of thirst, cough during ICS use, altered sense of taste, and presence of oral candidiasis) were assessed using a 30-day recall questionnaire. Results: Of the 200 patients studied, 159 (79.5%) were women. The mean age was 50.7 ± 14.4 years. In this sample, 55 patients (27.5%) were using high doses of ICS, with a median treatment duration of 38 months. Regarding the symptoms, 163 patients (81.5%) reported at least one adverse effect, and 131 (65.5%) had a daily perception of at least one symptom. Vocal and pharyngeal symptoms were identified in 57 (28.5%) and 154 (77.0%) of the patients, respectively. The most commonly reported adverse effects were dry throat, throat clearing, sensation of thirst, and hoarseness. Conclusions: Self-reported adverse effects related to ICS use were common among the asthma patients evaluated here.


Keywords: Asthma; Glucocorticoids; Administration, inhalation; Pharmaceutical services.


Risk factors for death in patients with severe asthma

Fatores de risco de morte em pacientes portadores de asma grave

Andréia Guedes Oliva Fernandes, Carolina Souza-Machado, Renata Conceição Pereira Coelho, Priscila Abreu Franco, Renata Miranda Esquivel, Adelmir Souza-Machado, Álvaro Augusto Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2014;40(4):364-372

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To identify risk factors for death among patients with severe asthma. Methods: This was a nested case-control study. Among the patients with severe asthma treated between December of 2002 and December of 2010 at the Central Referral Outpatient Clinic of the Bahia State Asthma Control Program, in the city of Salvador, Brazil, we selected all those who died, as well as selecting other patients with severe asthma to be used as controls (at a ratio of 1:4). Data were collected from the medical charts of the patients, home visit reports, and death certificates. Results: We selected 58 cases of deaths and 232 control cases. Most of the deaths were attributed to respiratory causes and occurred within a health care facility. Advanced age, unemployment, rhinitis, symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, long-standing asthma, and persistent airflow obstruction were common features in both groups. Multivariate analysis showed that male gender, FEV1 pre-bronchodilator < 60% of predicted, and the lack of control of asthma symptoms were significantly and independently associated with mortality in this sample of patients with severe asthma. Conclusions: In this cohort of outpatients with severe asthma, the deaths occurred predominantly due to respiratory causes and within a health care facility. Lack of asthma control and male gender were risk factors for mortality.


Keywords: Asthma/mortality; Asthma/therapy; Risk factors.


Risk factors for ER visits due to asthma exacerbations in patients enrolled in a program for the control of asthma and allergic rhinitis in Feira de Santana, Brazil

Fatores de risco para visitas à emergência por exacerbações de asma em pacientes de um programa de controle da asma e rinite alérgica em Feira de Santana, BA

Heli Vieira Brandão, Constança Sampaio Cruz, Murilo Cerqueira Pinheiro, Edgar Adolfo Costa, Armênio Guimarães, Adelmir Souza-Machado, Álvaro Augusto Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2009;35(12):-

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To determine the risk factors for ER visits due to asthma exacerbations in patients monitored at a referral center. Methods: Prospective cohort study of 253 outpatients (children and adults) with asthma who were monitored for 12 months at the Referral Center of the Program for the Control of Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis in the city of Feira de Santana, Brazil. Results: Exacerbations were common, and 36.5% of the patients sought ER treatment within the twelve-month period. The risk factors for asthma exacerbations were being over 20 years of age (OR = 1.34: (95% CI: 1.06-1.70), residing in an urban area (OR = 1.19; 95% CI: 1.06-1.33); having a low level of education (OR = 1.53: 95% CI: 1.00-2.39); having severe asthma (OR = 1.65; 95% CI: 1.24-2.18); and having chronic rhinitis (OR = 2.20; 95% CI: 1.00-4.80). Conclusions: In this cohort, having chronic rhinitis, having asthma that is more severe and having a low level of education were the main risk factors for ER visits due to asthma exacerbations. These results are similar to those reported for asthma patients who are receiving no regular treatment.


Keywords: Asthma/etiology; Health services; Program evaluation.


Impact that a program to control severe asthma has on the use of Unified Health System resources in Brazil

Impacto de um programa para o controle da asma grave na utilização de recursos do Sistema Único de Saúde

Eduardo Ponte, Rosana Abreu Franco, Adelmir Souza-Machado, Carolina Souza-Machado, Álvaro Augusto Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2007;33(1):15-19

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To quantify the use of health care resources among patients enrolled in the Bahia State Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis Control Program. Methods: As of January of 2006, 1405 patients had enrolled in the program, which is carried out in four referral centers in the city of Salvador. These patients formed the basis of this retrospective/prospective, observational cohort study. The preliminary analysis involved 269 consecutive patients, all above the age of 12 and diagnosed with severe asthma. After being seen by pulmonologists, nurses, pharmacologists and psychologists, the patients received inhaled asthma medications. Based on patient interviews and charts, the year preceding enrollment in the program was compared with the first year enrolled in the program in terms of the following quantifiable parameters: hospital admissions; emergency room visits; courses of oral corticosteroids; and days of school/work missed due to asthma attacks. Results: In this sample of patients with severe asthma, enrollment in the program resulted in significant reductions in the number of emergency room visits and hospital admissions (of 85% and 90%, respectively). There were also reductions in the number of school/work days missed due to asthma attacks and in the number of courses of oral corticosteroids (of 86% and 67%, respectively). Conclusion: A program designed to control severe asthma in referral outpatient clinics and including pharmacological services at no charge can lead to a pronounced reduction in the demand for Unified Health Care System resources.


Keywords: Asthma/therapy; Asthma/prevention  control; Hospitalization; National Health System (BR)


Poor perception of airflow limitation in patients with moderate to severe asthma

Má percepção da limitação aos fluxos aéreos em pacientes com asma moderada a grave

Adelmir Souza-Machado, Manuela N. Cavalcanti, Álvaro A. Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2001;27(4):185-192


Background: This study evaluated the perception of airway obstruction in moderate to severely asthmatic outpatients and the efficiency of chest auscultation in identifying airflow limitation. Methods: 33 subjects were evaluated at seven weekly visits by using symptoms scores determined by visual analogue scales (VAS, 0-100 mm), a clinical index of bronchial hyperreactivity (1-10), the clinical classification of asthma severity (GINA, 1-4) and a thoracic auscultation score (TAS, 0-5), spirometry and peak expiratory flow (PEF), which were correlated by the coefficient of Spearman. Patients were classified as perceivers (-1 £ r < 0) or nonperceivers (0 £ r £ 1) by correlations between VAS for dyspnoea and FEV1. A correlation between auscultation and bronchial obstruction was considered accurate when a r £ -0.5 (TAS vs. FEV1) was found. Results: Seventeen asthmatic patients (51.5%) did not accurately perceive the degree of their airways obstruction (nonperceivers). No clinical characteristics distinguished the groups. Only 39.4% of the individual correlations between TAS and FEV1 indicated accurate discrimination by auscultation. Severe asthma was not associated with inaccurate auscultation nor with malperception in this study. Conclusions: A significant proportion of this sample of asthmatic patients did not accurately perceive their own airway obstruction. Moreover, chest examination was shown to be an unsuitable discriminator of airflow limitation in moderate to severe stable asthmatics in an outpatient clinic.


Keywords: Asthma. Airway obstruction. Auscultation. Lung obstructive diseases.


Use of inhaler devices and asthma control in severe asthma patients at a referral center in the city of Salvador, Brazil

Manuseio de dispositivos inalatórios e controle da asma em asmáticos graves em um centro de referência em Salvador

Ana Carla Carvalho Coelho, Adelmir Souza-Machado, Mylene Leite, Paula Almeida, Lourdes Castro, Constança Sampaio Cruz, Rafael Stelmach, Álvaro Augusto Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2011;37(6):720-728

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To evaluate the use of inhaler devices by patients with severe asthma treated via the Programa para o Controle da Asma e Rinite Alérgica na Bahia (ProAR, Bahia State Asthma and Allergic Rhinitis Control Program), recording the frequency of their errors in performing key steps and the relationship between such errors and the lack of asthma control. Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 467 patients enrolled in the ProAR in the city of Salvador, Brazil. The devices evaluated were metered dose inhalers (MDIs), with or without a spacer, and dry powder inhalers (DPIs; Pulvinal® or Aerolizer®). For the assessment of the inhalation technique, a checklist was used; the patients were asked to demonstrate the technique so that an interviewer could observe all of the steps performed. For the assessment of asthma control, we used the 6-item asthma control questionnaire. Results: Most of the patients showed appropriate inhalation techniques when using the devices. When using an MDI, few patients made mistakes in the key step of "coordinating activation and inhalation" (5.2% and 9.1% with and without the use of a spacer, respectively). During Pulvinal® use, 39% of the patients did not inhale quickly and deeply, compared with only 5.8% during Aerolizer® use. Of the patients that made use of Aerolizer® alone, 71.3% appropriately performed all of the essential steps, and their asthma was controlled. Conclusions: Most of the patients in this sample, all of whom had been submitted to periodic checks of their inhalation technique (as part of the program), used the devices appropriately. Proper inhalation technique is associated with asthma symptom control.


Keywords: Asthma; Administration, inhalation; Metered dose inhalers; Dry powdered inhalers.


Obesity and asthma: clinical and laboratory characterization of a common combination

Obesidade e asma: caracterização clínica e laboratorial de uma associação frequente

Juliana Pires Viana de Jesus1,2,a, Aline Silva Lima-Matos2,3,b, Paula Cristina Andrade Almeida2,c, Valmar Bião Lima2,d, Luane Marques de Mello4,e, Adelmir Souza-Machado2,5,f, Eduardo Vieira Ponte5,6,g, Álvaro Augusto Cruz2,7,h

J Bras Pneumol.2018;44(3):207-212

Abstract PDF PT PDF EN Portuguese Text

Objective: To evaluate the relationship between obesity and asthma. Methods: This was a preliminary cross-sectional analysis involving 925 subjects with mild-to-moderate or severe asthma evaluated between 2013 and 2015. Obesity was defined on the basis of body mass index (BMI) and abdominal circumference. We collected clinical, laboratory, and anthropometric parameters, as well as pulmonary function test results and data regarding comorbidities. The subjects also completed asthma control and quality of life questionnaires. Results: Obese individuals had a significantly higher number of neutrophils in peripheral blood than did nonobese individuals (p = 0.01). Among the obese individuals, 163 (61%) had positive skin-prick test results, as did 69% and 71% of the individuals classified as being overweight or normal weight, respectively. Obese individuals showed lower spirometric values than did nonobese individuals, and 32% of the obese individuals had uncontrolled asthma, a significantly higher proportion than that found in the other groups (p = 0.02). Conclusions: Obese individuals with asthma seem to present with poorer asthma control and lower pulmonary function values than do nonobese individuals. The proportion of subjects with nonatopic asthma was higher in the obese group. Our results suggest that obese individuals with asthma show a distinct inflammatory pattern and are more likely to present with difficult-to-control asthma than are nonobese individuals.


Keywords: Asthma; Obesity; Overweight; Eosinophilia.


BCG vaccination and reduced risk of asthma

Vacinação com BCG e redução do risco de asma

Adelmir Souza-Machado, Álvaro A. Cruz

J Bras Pneumol.2010;36(3):-

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