Impact of sex on severe asthma: a cross-sectional retrospective analysis of UK primary and specialist care

Lola Loewenthal, John Busby, Ronald McDowell, Thomas Brown, Hassan Burhan, Rekha Chaudhuri, Paddy Dennison, James William Dodd, Simon Doe, Shoaib Faruqi, Robin Gore, Elfatih Idris, David Joshua Jackson, Mitesh Patel, Thomas Pantin, Ian Pavord, Paul E Pfeffer, David B Price, Hitasha Rupani, Salman SiddiquiLiam G Heaney, Andrew Menzies-Gow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Introduction After puberty, females are more likely to develop asthma and in a more severe form than males. The associations between asthma and sex are complex with multiple intrinsic and external factors.

Aim To evaluate the sex differences in the characteristics and treatment of patients with severe asthma (SA) in a real-world setting.

Methods Demographic, clinical and treatment characteristics for patients with SA in the UK Severe Asthma Registry (UKSAR) and Optimum Patient Care Research Database (OPCRD) were retrospectively analysed by sex using univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses adjusted for year, age and hospital/practice.

Results 3679 (60.9% female) patients from UKSAR and 18 369 patients (67.9% female) from OPCRD with SA were included. Females were more likely to be symptomatic with increased Asthma Control Questionnaire-6 (UKSAR adjusted OR (aOR) 1.14, 95% CI 1.09 to 1.18) and Royal College of Physicians-3 Question scores (OPCRD aOR 1.29, 95% CI 1.13 to 1.47). However, they had a higher forced expiratory volume in 1 second per cent (FEV1%) predicted (UKSAR 68.7% vs 64.8%, p<0.001) with no significant difference in peak expiratory flow. Type 2 biomarkers IgE (UKSAR 129 IU/mL vs 208 IU/mL, p<0.001) and FeNO (UKSAR 36ppb vs 46ppb, p<0.001) were lower in females with no significant difference in blood eosinophils or biological therapy. Females were less likely to be on maintenance oral corticosteroids (UKSAR aOR 0.86, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.99) but more likely to be obese (UKSAR aOR 1.67, 95% CI 145 to 1.93; OPCRD SA aOR 1.46, 95% CI 1.34 to 1.58).

Conclusions Females had increased symptoms and were more likely to be obese despite higher FEV1% predicted and lower type 2 biomarkers with consistent and clinically important differences across both datasets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-411
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Early online date16 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - May 2024


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