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Swine flu inpatients with asthma not at greater risk

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Asthma sufferers admitted to hospital with swine flu (H1N1) are only half as likely to die as non-sufferers, a report has suggested.

Patients with asthma are about half as likely to need intensive care as other swine flu carriers, possibly because they are admitted to hospital more quickly and are treated promptly with steroids.

The results are despite asthmatic patients in the survey having greater breathing problems than swine flu patients without asthma.

The survey, led by a University of Liverpool team, said 25% of patients admitted to UK hospitals with swine flue in the outbreak of 2009 had asthma.

Data was examined for 1,520 patients admitted to 75 hospitals in 31 cities, with researchers finding those with asthma and swine flu were short of breath more often, needed supplemental oxygen more and suffered more severe respiratory distress than patients with swine flu but not asthma.

  • 2 Comments

Readers' comments (2)

  • michael stone

    I'm no expert on flu, but as I understand it the outbreak at the end of WW1 was unusual because it killed an unusually high percentage of 'healthy young adults' (people in their 20s and 30s).

    One possibility, appears to be that this was because that particular flu killed some people by generating a huge but ineffective (against flu virus) immune response - basically, the suggestion is that the patients with really effective immune systems, killed themselves (cf hayfever).

    I wonder if this study broke its results down by age, as well as asthma or non-asthma ?

    It could, of course, just be down to faster and more intensive/different treatment of asthma sufferers, as suggested.

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  • I would also suggest that the patients response to seeking medical help would be a lot quicker as they would be highly sensitive to respiratory or flu like symptoms exacerbating the asthma.
    This would greatly infulence patient outcomes.

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