Fatigue is Highly Prevalent in Patients with Asthma and Contributes to the Burden of Disease

Maarten van Herck*, Martijn A. Spruit, Chris Burtin, Remco Djamin, Jeanine Antons, Yvonne M. J. Goertz, Zjala Ebadi, Daisy J. A. Janssen, Jan H. Vercoulen, Jeannette B. Peters, Melissa S. Y. Thong, Jacqueline Otker, Arnold Coors, Mirjam A. G. Sprangers, Jeanw. M. Muris, Emiel F. M. Wouters, Alex J. van't Hul

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The 2018 update of the Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention does not mention fatigue-related symptoms. Nevertheless, patients with asthma frequently report tiredness, lack of energy, and daytime sleepiness. Quantitative research regarding the prevalence of fatigue in asthmatic patients is lacking. This retrospective cross-sectional study of outpatients with asthma upon referral to a chest physician assessed fatigue (Checklist Individual Strength-Fatigue (CIS-Fatigue)), lung function (spirometry), asthma control (Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ)), dyspnea (Medical Research Council (MRC) scale), exercise capacity (six-minute walk test (6MWT)), and asthma-related Quality-of-Life (QoL), Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire (AQLQ) during a comprehensive health-status assessment. In total, 733 asthmatic patients were eligible and analyzed (47.4 +/- 16.3 years, 41.1% male). Severe fatigue (CIS-Fatigue >= 36 points) was detected in 62.6% of patients. Fatigue was not related to airflow limitation (FEV1, rho = -0.083); was related moderately to ACQ (rho = 0.455), AQLQ (rho = -0.554), and MRC (rho = 0.435; all p-values <0.001); and was related weakly to 6MWT (rho = -0.243, p <0.001). In stepwise multiple regression analysis, 28.9% of variance in fatigue was explained by ACQ (21.0%), MRC (6.5%), and age (1.4%). As for AQLQ, 42.2% of variance was explained by fatigue (29.8%), MRC (8.6%), exacerbation rate (2.6%), and age (1.2%). Severe fatigue is highly prevalent in asthmatic patients; it is an important determinant of disease-specific QoL and a crucial yet ignored patient-related outcome in patients with asthma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number471
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


  • asthma
  • fatigue
  • quality of life
  • LIFE

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