What is severe asthma?
Article first published online: 20 APR 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Clinical & Experimental Allergy
Special Issue: Special Issue on Severe Asthma
Volume 42, Issue 5, pages 617–624, May 2012
How to Cite
Cite this as: J. D. Blakey and A. J. Wardlaw, Clinical & Experimental Allergy, 2012 (42) 617–624.
- Issue published online: 20 APR 2012
- Article first published online: 20 APR 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 30 JAN 2012 12:17PM EST
- Manuscript Accepted: 5 JAN 2012
- Manuscript Revised: 19 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Received: 25 OCT 2011
- inflammatory lung diseases;
- severe asthma
Asthma is common, and some individuals are severely affected by it. Learned institutions have sought to provide a definition of ‘severe asthma’ to facilitate research and clinical care. This is a challenging undertaking given the difficulty in defining asthma and the lack of supportive evidence for a distinct severe asthma phenotype. In this review, we discuss the rationale for a definition of severe asthma and the relative merits of the sequential attempts that have been made to produce such a definition. The difficulty in disentangling control and severity is highlighted, as is the heterogeneity of phenotype in severe asthma, and potential for misclassification. We conclude that the search for a singular definition of severe asthma is problematic, though likely to continue. We suggest the alternative strategy of using classifiers with a specific aim related to symptoms, pathophysiology or service provision.