Bronchodilator response does not associate with asthma control or symptom burden among patients with poorly controlled asthma

David A. Kaminsky, Jiaxian He, Robert Henderson, Anne E. Dixon, Charles G. Irvin, John Mastronarde, Lewis J. Smith, Elizabeth A. Sugar, Robert A. Wise, Janet T. Holbrook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine how four different definitions of bronchodilator response (BDR) relate to asthma control and asthma symptom burden in a large population of participants with poorly controlled asthma. Procedures: We examined the baseline change in FEV1 and FVC in response to albuterol among 931 participants with poorly controlled asthma pooled from three clinical trials conducted by the American Lung Association - Airways Clinical Research Centers. We defined BDR based on four definitions and analyzed the association of each with asthma control as measured by the Asthma Control Test or Asthma Control Questionnaire, and asthma symptom burden as measured by the Asthma Symptom Utility Index. Main findings: A BDR was seen in 31–42% of all participants, depending on the definition used. There was good agreement among responses (kappa coefficient 0.73 to 0.87), but only 56% of participants met all four definitions for BDR. A BDR was more common in men than women, in Blacks compared to Whites, in non-smokers compared to smokers, and in non-obese compared to obese participants. Among those with poorly controlled asthma, 35% had a BDR compared to 25% of those with well controlled asthma, and among those with a high symptom burden, 34% had a BDR compared to 28% of those with a low symptom burden. After adjusting for age, sex, height, race, obesity and baseline lung function, none of the four definitions was associated with asthma control or symptom burden. Conclusion: A BDR is not associated with asthma control or symptoms in people with poorly controlled asthma, regardless of the definition of BDR used. These findings question the clinical utility of a BDR in assessing asthma control and symptoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number107375
JournalRespiratory Medicine
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • Asthma
  • Asthma control
  • Asthma symptoms
  • Bronchodilator response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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