Clinical characteristics of the BREATHE cohort–a real-life study on patients with asthma and COPD

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Background: The BREATHE study is a cross-sectional study of real-life patients with asthma and/or COPD in Denmark and Sweden aiming to increase the knowledge across severities and combinations of obstructive airway disease. Design: Patients with suspicion of asthma and/or COPD and healthy controls were invited to participate in the study and had a standard evaluation performed consisting of questionnaires, physical examination, FeNO and lung function, mannitol provocation test, allergy test, and collection of sputum and blood samples. A subgroup of patients and healthy controls had a bronchoscopy performed with a collection of airway samples. Results: The study population consisted of 1403 patients with obstructive airway disease (859 with asthma, 271 with COPD, 126 with concurrent asthma and COPD, 147 with other), and 89 healthy controls (smokers and non-smokers). Of patients with asthma, 54% had moderate-to-severe disease and 46% had mild disease. In patients with COPD, 82% had groups A and B, whereas 18% had groups C and D classified disease. Patients with asthma more frequently had childhood asthma, atopic dermatitis, and allergic rhinitis, compared to patients with COPD, asthma + COPD and Other, whereas FeNO levels were higher in patients with asthma and asthma + COPD compared to COPD and Other (18 ppb and 16 ppb vs 12.5 ppb and 14 ppb, p < 0.001). Patients with asthma, asthma + COPD and Other had higher sputum eosinophilia (1.5%, 1.5%, 1.2% vs 0.75%, respectively, p < 0.001) but lower sputum neutrophilia (39.3, 43.5%, 40.8% vs 66.8%, p < 0.001) compared to patients with COPD. Conclusions: The BREATHE study provides a unique database and biobank with clinical information and samples from 1403 real-life patients with asthma, COPD, and overlap representing different severities of the diseases. This research platform is highly relevant for disease phenotype- and biomarker studies aiming to describe a broad spectrum of obstructive airway diseases.


  • Vibeke Backer
  • Ditte K. Klein
  • Uffe Bodtger
  • Celeste Porsbjerg
  • Karsten Kristiansen
  • Ruiqi Xu
  • Alexander Silberbrandt
  • Laurits Frøssing
  • Morten Hvidtfeldt
  • Nicolai Obling
  • Michiko Mori
  • Matilde Winther-Jensen
  • Thomas Veje Flintegaard
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • University of Copenhagen
  • Bispebjerg Hospital
  • Naestved Hospital
  • University of Southern Denmark
  • Frederiksberg Hospital
  • Näsets Läkargrupp
  • BGI Europe

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Lungmedicin och allergi


TidskriftEuropean clinical respiratory journal
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2020 mar 17
Peer review utfördJa