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Current situation of asthma-COPD overlap in Chinese patients older than 40 years with airflow limitation: a multicenter, cross-sectional, non-interventional study.


Background and aims

Asthma-chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) overlap (ACO) is poorly recognized in China. Our study determined the distribution of ACO and its clinical characteristics among patients (aged ⩾40 years) with airflow limitation at Chinese tertiary hospitals.


This cross-sectional, non-interventional study (NCT02600221), conducted between December 2015 and October 2016 in 20 Tier-3 Chinese hospitals, included patients aged ⩾40 years with post-bronchodilator (BD) FEV1/FVC <0.7. The primary variable was distribution of ACO in adults with post-BD forced expiratory volume /forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) <0.7 based on Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) 2015 and 2017 reports. Other variables included determination of characteristics of ACO and its clinical recognition rate.


In 2003 patients (mean age 62.30 ± 9.86 years), distribution of ACO, COPD and asthma were 37.40%, 48.50% and 14.10%, respectively. Proportions of patients with A, B, C and D grouping were 11.70%, 31.00%, 6.90% and 50.30% as per GOLD 2017, whereas they were 15.10%, 51.10%, 3.60% and 30.20% as per GOLD 2015. Similar clinical symptoms were reported in all three groups. A higher percentage of ACO patients presented with dyspnea, wheezing and chest tightness. Compared with the COPD group, a greater proportion of ACO patients reported wheezing (74.6% and 65.40%), while a lower proportion in the ACO group reported cough (79.40% versus 82.70%) and expectoration (76.50% versus 81.60%). Blood eosinophil count ⩾0.3 × 109/L was observed in 34.6% of ACO patients. The clinical recognition rate of ACO was 31.4%.


Despite ACO affecting two-fifths of the study population, the initial diagnosis rate was low at 6% in China, thus warranting concerted efforts to improve ACO diagnosis.

[ identifier: NCT02600221] registered 22 October 2015, reviews of this paper are available via the supplemental material section.

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