BACKGROUND: In a postal questionnaire study, the prevalence of asthma in southern Sweden has been found to be 5.5%. However, the register prevalence of asthma obtained from the medical records in the same municipality and age groups was found to be only 2.1%. OBJECTIVES: The aims of the study were to investigate whether the low register prevalence of asthma was caused by an underdiagnosis of asthma in primary health care and to validate a first diagnosis of asthma set by GPs in primary health care. METHODS: During a period of 3 months in 1997, all patients seeking care in the primary health care units of the municipality of Lund (population 171 877) with upper or lower airway infections, prolonged cough, allergic rhinitis, fatigue or a first positive diagnosis of asthma were recorded ( n = 3025). RESULTS: In the whole group of 3025 patients, 99 patients were found to have received a diagnosis of asthma for the first time during the study period. The diagnosis was verified in 52 of those 68 patients who attended a follow-up and examination by a respiratory physician. Among the remaining 2926 patients, 221 patients were selected randomly to constitute a control group. In this group, three patients were found to have asthma. Thus, the specificity of an asthma diagnosis set in primary health care was 0.99 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.99-1.00] and the sensitivity was 0.59 (95% CI 0.31-0.81). CONCLUSIONS: The GPs in this study were good at excluding those who did not have asthma (specificity 99%) but less good in correctly diagnosing those who actually had current asthma (sensitivity 59%), which suggests an underdiagnosis of asthma.
The FACET (Formoterol and Corticosteroid Establishing Therapy) study established that there is a clear clinical benefit in adding formoterol to budesonide therapy in patients who have persistent symptoms of asthma despite treatment with low to moderate doses of an inhaled corticosteroid. We combined the clinical results from the FACET study with an expert survey on average resource use in connection with mild and severe asthma exacerbations in the U.K., Sweden and Spain. The primary objective of this study was to assess the health economics of adding the inhaled long-acting beta2-agonist formoterol to the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide in the treatment of asthma. The extra costs of adding the inhaled beta2-agonist formoterol to the corticosteroid budesonide in asthmatic patients in Sweden were offset by savings from reduced use of resources for exacerbations. For Spain the picture was mixed. Adding formoterol to low dose budesonide generated savings, whereas for moderate doses of budesonide about 75% of the extra formoterol costs could be recouped. In the U.K., other savings offset about half of the extra cost of formoterol. All cost-effectiveness ratios are within accepted cost-effectiveness ranges reported from previous studies. If productivity losses were included, there were net savings in all three countries, ranging from Euro 267-1183 per patient per year. In conclusion, adding the inhaled, long-acting beta2-agonist formoterol to low-moderate doses of the inhaled corticosteroid budesonide generated significant gains in all outcome measures with partial or complete offset of costs. Adding formoterol to budesonide can thus be considered to be cost-effective.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the role of spirometry and respiratory symptoms in the detection of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in primary health care. DESIGN: A cross-sectional study. SETTING: A primary health centre in Landskrona, southern Sweden. SUBJECTS: 164 subjects who in 1992 had answered a postal questionnaire concerning obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory symptoms. They were aged 45-64 years, with a mean of 55 years. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: In 1997, the subjects were invited to perform a spirometry and a medical examination and to answer the same questionnaire as in 1992. Subjects with a forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)
This study was carried out to estimate the direct and indirect costs associated with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in Sweden in 1980 and 1991, and to identify trends in the use of outpatient care, drugs and inpatient care, and the development of temporary morbidity, permanent disability and mortality for asthma and COPD. Routinely published administrative and population data were used to estimate the costs of asthma and COPD, and these figures were compared to corresponding estimates and trends for all respiratory diseases as well as for all diseases. Asthma and COPD each accounted for about SEK 3 billion, together roughly 2% of the economic cost of all diseases. Although the total costs associated with each disease were similar, the distribution of the different cost components and changes in each component over time differed. During the 1980s, the cost of drugs and out-patient care increased for both diseases. The cost of inpatient care for asthma decreased, whereas that for COPD increased. This study shows that asthma therapy has changed from inpatient to ambulatory care in Sweden, while the treatment of COPD to a higher degree still is based on inpatient care.
There is a lack of knowledge to which extent heredity or familial risk factors are involved in the development of chronic bronchitis/emphysema (CBE). Smoking is regarded as the most important risk factor, but only about 15% of smokers develop airway obstruction. We evaluated the importance of familial risk factors compared to smoking and ex-smoking using an epidemiological approach. In 1992, a postal questionnaire was distributed to a study sample. In all, 43 questions were asked, in a previously evaluated questionnaire, regarding respiratory symptoms, self-reported lung diseases, smoking habits and familial occurrence of chronic bronchitis and asthma. The questionnaire was sent to 12,073 adults living in the southernmost part of Sweden. The age range was 20-59 years with an equal gender distribution. The study sample was drawn from the population records. The questionnaire was answered by 8469 subjects (70.1%), of whom 392 subjects (4.6%) stated that they had or had had CBE and 469 subjects (5.5%) stated that they had or had had asthma. In a model with logistic regression using the five explanatory variables gender, age, familial occurrence for asthma, familial occurrence for CBE and current or ex-smoking the most important risk factors for CBE were familial occurrence for chronic bronchitis [Odds ratios (OR): 5.19, 95% confidence interval (CI): 4.09-6.60, p = 0.000] and current or ex-smoking (OR: 1.74, 95% CI: 1.41-2.14, p = 0.000). The most important risk factors for asthma were familial occurrence for asthma (OR: 3.71, 95% CI: 3.06-4.51, p = 0.000) and current or ex-smoking (OR: 1.33, 95% CI: 1.09-1.61, p = 0.004). We have found that familial occurrence for CBE in first degree relatives together with smoking is a stronger risk factor for the development of CBE than is smoking.
The aim was to compare health-related quality of life (HRQL) in patients with asthma from 4 countries, and to investigate the correlations between HRQL and clinical indices.341 patients; 140 (Sweden), 54 (Norway), 65 (the Netherlands) and 82 (Greece) were treated with formoterol fumarate 4.5 microg or with terbutaline sulphate 0.5mg for 12 weeks inhaled 'on demand' via Turbuhaler. The Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) and clinical indices were assessed.The mean baseline AQLQ overall scores in Sweden (4.97), in the Netherlands (5.04), in Norway (4.68) and in Greece (4.68) were in the same range, however, with a significant difference between the four countries (p=0.038). When comparing AQLQ, activity limitation and symptoms domains, the differences between the countries were not statistically significant. The cross-sectional correlations between AQLQ overall score and the clinical indices were similar in all four countries.The magnitude of change in AQLQ was consistent with the other clinical variables. The correlations between change in AQLQ overall score and change in clinical indices were low to medium in all countries.In conclusion, the consistency of cross-sectional correlations between the AQLQ overall and clinical indices across countries supports the validity of translations of the AQLQ used in this study. There were differences in baseline values between the countries. The treatment response in AQLQ differed to the same extent as other clinical indices. When combining HRQL data from different countries, there might be cultural, gender and socio-economic differences, explaining different responses to treatment.
BACKGROUND: The association between social position, living environment and nasal symptoms is inconsistent. We wanted to test how living environment, occupation and social position were associated with nasal symptoms. METHODS: In a postal survey study of a random sample of 12,079 adults, aged 20-59 years living in the southern part of Sweden the relationship between nasal symptoms, socio-economic status and environmental factors was analysed. RESULTS: The response rate was 70% (n = 8469) of whom 33% reported significant nasal symptoms. Nasal discharge, thick yellow discharge, a blocked nose, sneezing and itching were strongly associated with living close to heavy traffic or living in cities. Most of the nasal symptoms provoked by extrinsic factors were more frequently reported among subjects who lived close to heavy traffic and in cities. Apart from thick yellow discharge and nasal symptoms provoked by damp/cold air which were more common in the socio-economic position "low" no relation to the socio-economic group was found. The prevalence of self-reported hay fever was neither affected by site of living nor by socio-economic status. Nasal symptoms evoked by "allergic" factors were linked to asthma but symptoms evoked by non-allergic factors were linked to chronic bronchitis/emphysema CBE. CONCLUSIONS: To conclude, we found a strong relation between geographical site and the prevalence of self-reported nasal symptoms which emphasizes the environment as a risk factor for nasal symptoms. Only by merging the socio-economic groups into "low" and "middle/high" an association to nasal symptoms was apparent. Nasal symptoms evoked by "allergic" factors were linked to asthma but symptoms evoked by "non allergic factors" were linked to CBE.
Section for Infection Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden; Section for Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Department of Clinical Sciences Lund, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.
Chronic pulmonary disease is a recognized risk factor for invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD). However, previous studies have often not been large enough to allow detailed analyses of less prevalent pulmonary diseases, and findings regarding case fatality have been inconsistent. We examined the associations between an underlying pulmonary disease and IPD, and the impact of these diseases on the case fatality rate. Patients with IPD =18 years of age, between 1990 and 2008, were identified in microbiological databases. The associations between IPD and the pulmonary diseases were assessed using conditional logistic regression, comparing IPD cases to ten control subjects per case, randomly selected from the general population (matched for gender, year of birth and county of residence). Adjustments were made for other co-morbidities, level of education and socio-economic status, 4085 cases of IPD and 40 353 controls were identified. A more than four-fold increased risk of IPD was seen in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a doubled risk in asthma and a five-fold increased risk in subjects with pulmonary fibrosis. In univariate analysis, sarcoidosis and bronchiectasis were associated with a two-fold to seven-fold increase in the risk of IPD, but there was no statistical support for the associations when adjustments for confounders were made. No increased risk was seen in subjects with a history of pneumoconiosis or allergic alveolitis. The mortality following IPD was not increased in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis or bronchiectasis. Several chronic pulmonary diseases increase the risk of IPD but mortality following IPD seems not to be affected.