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Blood eosinophil counts associated with asthma or COPD patient characteristics

Published online: December 28, 2019

An elevated blood eosinophil (bEOS) count is a marker of inflammation associated with poorer outcomes in individuals with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Little is known about the impact of demographic and other patient factors on bEOS counts in individuals with asthma or COPD.

In a research article recently published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice, Caspard and colleagues analyzed how bEOS counts are associated with demographic characteristics (age, sex, race/ethnicity), body mass index (BMI), or smoking status among individuals with asthma or COPD compared with a control population of individuals with neither asthma nor COPD.

Using data from the 2001–2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), patient populations for this study were identified based on diagnoses by health care practitioners. Statistical analyses incorporated NHANES multistage sampling and sampling weights provided by NHANES. Associations between demographics, clinical characteristics, and bEOS distributions were independently evaluated among the 3 study groups. bEOS counts were ranked among the total population, and the ranks were fitted with multivariable linear regressions, which adjusted for individual characteristics, blood draw time of day, and disease-relevant variables.

Among individuals with asthma, bEOS counts were higher compared with controls who did not have asthma or COPD. bEOS counts increased with age among control individuals. bEOS counts appeared higher with age among those with asthma or COPD; however, the increase was not statistically significant. Across all 3 study populations, median bEOS were higher among men, individuals of black race, and those with higher BMI. Among control individuals as well as those with asthma, current and former smokers had higher bEOS counts compared with those who were never-smokers. These correlations between bEOS counts and patient characteristics may potentially be used to better personalize treatment plans for patients with asthma or COPD.

The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: In Practice is an official journal of the AAAAI, focusing on practical information for the practicing clinician.

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