Atopy May Increase Risk for Asthma Relapse

Mycoplasma bacteria
Mycoplasma bacteria
Investigators evaluated respiratory viruses, atypical bacteria, and atopy on the severity of asthma and the effect on recovery.

Patients diagnosed with atopy may be at a higher risk for asthma relapse after an acute asthma exacerbation, according to a study published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Researchers performed a prospective study of 244 children aged 2 to 16 years with acute asthma symptoms who were brought to emergency departments at 2 hospitals in Australia over the course of approximately 1.5 years. Nasopharyngeal aspirates and allergen skin prick tests were performed on all participants.

Polymerase chain reaction testing demonstrated positive results for viruses/atypical bacteria in 81.7% of patients with acute asthma exacerbations. However, a positive test was noted to have little effect on acute asthma or overall recovery outcomes in patients. Further, it was noted that children with atopy had a significantly increased incidence and risk for relapse and asthma deterioration by day 14 compared with children who had asthma symptoms without atopy (odds ratio, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.00-1.23, P =.042).  

Investigators concluded that although viruses are associated with asthma exacerbations, they do not have a significant effect on recovery. However, it was determined that children with atopy are more likely to require an unscheduled doctor visit within 14 days after discharge after an acute asthma exacerbation. Further, it was determined that acute asthma is rarely triggered by Mycoplasma pneumoniae and Chlamydophila pneumoniae.

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Based on these findings, patients with atopy diagnosed with an acute asthma exacerbation should be followed closely by clinicians because they are at a higher risk for relapse after discharge.


Teoh L, Mackay IM, Van Asperen PP, et al. Presence of atopy increases the risk of asthma relapse [published online October 11, 2017]. Arch Dis Child. doi:10.1136/archdischild-2017-312982