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A prospective study of asthma incidence and its predictors: the RHINE study.

European Respiratory Journal
European Respiratory Society
Publication Date
  • Medicine


The objective of this longitudinal study was to estimate the incidence rate of asthma, and to compare the incidence between subjects with or without baseline reporting of certain respiratory symptoms. A follow-up of the random population samples in the European Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Estonia was conducted in 1999-2001, in a population aged 30-54 yrs at follow-up (n=14,731). Asthma was defined as reporting either asthma or physician-diagnosed asthma, and a reported year when asthma symptoms were first noticed. Incidence rates, incidence rate ratios and hazard ratios were calculated with 95% confidence intervals. The incidence rate of asthma was 2.2 cases per 1,000 person-yrs. The incidence was higher among females (2.9 cases.1,000 person-yrs(-1)) than among males (1.5 cases.1,000 person-yrs(-1)). When subjects with baseline reporting of wheezing were excluded, the incidence rate decreased to 1.7 cases.1,000 person-yrs(-1), with a further decrease to 1.5 cases.1,000 person-yrs(-1) after exclusion of subjects with wheezing, nocturnal dyspnoea, chest tightness and cough. There was a strong association between onset of asthma and wheezing at baseline. In this prospective, population-based study, the incidence rate of asthma in the whole population sample ranged 1.5-2.2.1,000 person-yrs(-1), with a higher incidence range among females. The incidence was dependent on the extent to which subjects with respiratory symptoms were excluded from follow-up. Hence, for comparability between studies, the exclusion criteria in the follow-up population must be stated.

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