Elderly patients with asthma had greater involvement with small and large airways and less atopy than patients aged 65 years or younger with asthma, according to recent study results.

Researchers in Japan conducted a retrospective analysis on 45 elderly patients (aged more than 65 years) with asthma (mean age, 73.1 years; 34 women; median disease duration, 12.7 years) and 67 nonelderly patients with asthma (mean age, 48.6 years; 46 women; median disease duration, 8 years).

Spirometry, computed tomographic indices of large airway wall thickness and small airway involvement, impulse oscillation measurements, exhaled nitric oxide levels, blood and induced sputum cell differentials, methacholine airway responsiveness and serum gE levels were used.

There were significantly lower values for forced expiration volume in 1 second (median 81.2% vs. 88.8%; P=.02), mid-forced expiratory flow (percentage predicted; 50.9% vs. 78.6%; P=.03) and the ratio of forced expiration volume in 1 second to forced vital capacity (0.72 vs. 0.78; P=.001) in the elderly patients compared with the nonelderly patients. Elderly patients also had significantly greater airway wall thickening and air trapping.