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Editor's Correspondence
January 13, 2003

Elderly Asthmatic Patients

Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(1):122. doi:10.1001/archinte.163.1.122-a

We read with interest the article by Diette and associates1 published in the May 27, 2002, issue of the ARCHIVES. The authors reported that 91% of elderly asthmatic patients had at least 1 comorbid condition such as sinusitis, heartburn, or chronic bronchitis. We propose that arrhythmia and coronary disease are much more important comorbid diseases because theophylline and β-agonist use can affect cardiac function.2,3 However, there was no information about these comorbid diseases in the article. How many patients had these comorbid diseases? In our elderly asthmatic patients, 7.5% and 5% of patients had arrhythmia and coronary disease, respectively. The authors showed that comorbid illness was one of the predictors of future hospitalization. We would appreciate knowing about the causes for hospitalization of the elderly because the asthmatic patients were admitted to the hospital because of uncontrolled asthmatic status not because of deterioration of a comorbid condition.

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