Lege Artis Medicinae

[Disparity in the perception of the disease in asthmatics and their pulmonologists plus resource in Hungary (HUNAIR study)]


APRIL 01, 2000

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2000;10(04)

[INTRODUCTION - Bronchial asthma is a chro­nic disease having an increasing prevalence in childhood and adulthood, affecting about 3-5% of the population in the developed countries. The AIR study in the United Kingdom compared the perception of the disease in asthmatic patients' to the view of their physicians (pulmonologists). Based on the results of AIR Study the Hungarian Board of Pulmonologists conducted a partially different survey in Hungary (H UNAIR Study). The fundamental objective of the HUNAIR Study was to address the following questions: 1. The persisting symptoms and limitations in daily activity of treated pediatric and adult asth­matic patients. 2. Comparison of the GINA classification of asthmatic patients (based on self-assessed symptom severity) and their pulmonologists. 3. Determination of the total asthma-related drug costs in different severity categories. 4. Determination of the total asthma-related cost for the society and its components (total drug costs, cost of lost workdays, cost of emergency visits, cost of specialist visits, cost of GP visits, cost of hospitalisation) in the different severity categories. 5. Potential differences in total cost between adult and pediatric asthmatic patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS - Data collection based on questionnaires was carried out from October 1998 to May 1999 and was directed by the Board of Pulmonologist. 699 adults and 375 children participated in the survey. The study was conducted in 19 adult and 8 pediatric cent­res in Hungary with the participation of 103 pulmonologists. RESULTS - Significant difference was found in the severity classification (based on GINA ) done by the physicians or the patients themselves. Substantial proportion of patients complained of more symptoms and limitations considering their own condition more severe than indicated by their physicians. Minor difference was found in the use of inhaled steroids among patients with mild, moderate and severe persistent asth­ma. An approximate "one-third " rule could be set up by the health economic evaluation: about 1/3 of the total cost was made up by lost work­ days, 1/3 by drug costs and 1/ 3 by other costs. One-third of the total drug cost was made up by controller and reliever antiasthmatics , 1/3 by emergency medicines and 1/3 by other medi­cines. Cost distribution of controller and reliever medicines: in case of adult patients 1/3 of the costs was constituted by controller medication and 2/3 (73%) by reliever medicines. That ratio was reversed in children: about 2/3 (73%) of the costs was spent on controller and '1 3 on reliever medicines. Further findings: 1. The increased health care resource utilisation correlated with the physician's perception more than the patient's self-assessment; 2. the resource utilisa­tion was twice as high in asthmatic children as in adults ; 3. the resource utilisati on was not affected by the usage of inhaled steroids during the 14 days of the study. CONCLUSIONS - lt can be concluded that in real life situations the current medical treatment of asthmatic patients is unsatisfactory (vs. in clinical trials). The cost-effectiveness of any medication can only be studied in a complex way, considering all the costs incurred in real life situations. New end-points are needed to assess the condition of asthmatics, which con­sider the limitations of patients in their daily routine activities and are not based exclusively on lung function tests.]


  1. Semmelweis Egyetem, Általános Orvosi Kar, Pulmonológiai Klinika, Budapest
  2. Somogy Megyei Tüdő- és Szívkórház, Mosdós
  3. Országos Korányi Tbc- és Pulmonológiai Intézet, Budapest



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[The well-known risk factors of atherosclerosis (high level of serum cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking) can only be re cognized in about half of the patients. Athero sclerosis begins in childhood. In vivo and in vitro data suggest that certain pathogens, like the intracellular bacterium Chlamydia pneu moniae (member of the Chlamydia genus) and cytomegalovirus (member of the herpesvirus family) may play a role in the development of atherosclerosis. Both pathogens infect the pop- ulation in childhood. Infected patients are often symptom-free, sometimes Chlamydia pneumoniae may cause respiratory disease. Both Chlamydia pneumoniae and cytomega- lovirus can be detected in atherosclerotic plaques and patients with atherosclerosis carry pathogen-specific antibodies more frequently and in higher titers. Aortic lesions similar to human atherosclerotic plaques can be indu ced by infection with Chlamydia pneumoniae or cytomegalovirus in experimental animals. Antichlamydial treatment results in the regres sion of these lesions in the infected animals. In vitro infection of tissue culture cells of human arterial origin with Chlamydia pneumoniae or cytomegalovirus results in the induction of cel- lular changes characteristic to atherosclerosis. Strategies to prevent or treat atherosclerosis might be complemented by antimicrobial treatment if the infectious origin of the disease is further confirmed. ]

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[Functional gastrointestinal disorders defined as a variable combination of chronic or recurrent gastrointestinal symptoms not explained by structural or biochemichal abnormalities, are everpresent in the society and in physicians' offices. These conditions account for half of the referrals to gastroenterologists, at least in the ,,developed countries". The pathophysiological mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of these disorders are complex. The symptoms are believed to be biologically multidetermined, abnormalities in motor activity, visceral sensation (hypersensitivity and hyperalgesia) and/or central perception are the best known pathogenetic factors. Cultural/familiar influence, psychosocial status, life stress and early life events may also play important role in the development or amplification of the symptoms. Since functional gastrointestinal disorders are interrelated in their pathophysiology and clinical expression, many patients will have overlapping clinical features. Predominant symptoms, however, may be used for classifying these disorders (functional dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome etc) and for the positive (symptom-based) diagnostic approach of the functional gastrointestinal disorders. A biopsychosocial model created to explain complex pathophysiology described above provides the rationale also for the use of a multidisciplinary approach in the therapy. ]

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[Functional dyspepsia is defined as a group of different epigastric symptoms without definite morphological, biochemical or infectious origin, having overlapping clinical features. The pathogenesis of the syndrome is surely multi factorial, involving the alterations of visceral perception, as well. Gastric acid hypersecretion does not play an essential role in the development of symptoms, however its pharmacological inhibition may result in symptomatic improvement. Several clinical studies have proved recently that Helicobacter pylori infection has secondary importance in the clinical history of functional dyspepsia patients, nevertheless (in the ulcer-like functional dyspepsia subgroup) eradication therapy is generally accepted as a preventive tool. The dysmotility-type subgroup of the functional dyspepsia syndrome is caused primarily by a multifactorial mixture of gastrointestinal motility disorders and altered visceral perception. The need for positiv diagnosis is emphasized by the authors. The correct doctor-patient relationship plays the most important role in the management of functional dyspepsia patients, complete with a well proven series of acid-inhibitory, prokinetics and anti-anxiety drugs.]

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[New concept for the irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) has been accepted in the medical practice based on the information obtained in the last two decades about the pathogenesis of the disease. This new pathogenetical concept stimulated the revision of the current pharmacotherapy and the development of new classes of drugs. Several mechanisms are involved in the development of typical symptoms: the role of motility disorders, visceral hypersensitivity and alterations in the peripheral and central regulatory/modulatory pathways are clearly documented. The positive diagnosis is based on the evaluation of the leading and representative symptoms of the disease (Rome Criteria I and II) and this approach is helpful to define IBS in the cliniccal practice. ]

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[COVID-19 caused already the most serious pandemic of the past 100 years with increasing morbidity and mortality rates worldwide. Due to the aerosol-born virus, pneumonia develops in a significant part (ca. 20%) of patients with serious forms of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) ca. in 5-8% of all cases. For patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, it is very important to save their well-controlled condition and to continue the maintenance therapy in co-morbid COVID-19 infection. The role of pulmonary exercises and rehabilitation is crucial. Thus, pulmonology outpatient clinics gained additional follow-up activities such as the long-term post-COVID care with complex functional assessments and regular structural imaging of discharged patients.]

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Lege Artis Medicinae



[INTRODUCTION - Gastroesophageal reflux is known to cause chronic cough and it is also implicated in worsening of asthma. We conducted a prospective study to examine the clinical significance of gastroesophageal reflux disease in asthmatic patients with chronic cough, to analyse the temporal relationship between reflux events and coughing and to assess the effect of esomeprazole treatment on respiratory symptoms and lung function in these patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS - 126 asthmatic patients with chronic dry cough were studied. Diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease was based on typical symptoms and the effectiveness of therapeutic test or on pH monitoring, while control group consisted of the patients without gastroesophageal reflux (negative pH results). The study group patients received the proton pump inhibitor esomeprazole (40 mg/day for three months) and standard treatment for asthma was continued. During the study pulmonary function tests (forced expiratory volume in one second and peak expiratory flow) were evaluated four times and the reflux symptom scores as well, using a questionnaire. RESULTS - The results of pH monitoring showed that 64% of cough episodes were related to acid reflux and in 91% of reflux events preceded coughing. Esomeprazole treatment (40 mg/day for three months) not only diminished gastroesophageal reflux symptoms but also improved asthma outcome measures. Baseline pulmonary function values increased significantly together with a decrease in symptom scores and the use of rescue medication. In most patients included in the extended part of the study for another three months, the dose of inhaled steroids could be reduced with sustained therapy against gastroesophageal reflux. CONCLUSION - Our data shows that reflux events preceded coughing in most cases and that treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease caused an improvement in different outcome measures of asthma suggest that gastroesophageal reflux disease worsens asthma and its treatment is of clinical importance in the effective management of these patients.]

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VOKÓ Zoltán, NAGYJÁNOSI László, KALÓ Zoltán

[INTRODUCTION - Diabetes mellitus is responsible for a huge burden of disease all over the world, including Hungary, as well. The object of our study was to estimate the direct health care costs of treating patients with diabetes, in order to characterize this aspect of the burden of disease, and to facilitate the use of this information in further analyses. METHODS - We used the data of the National Health Fund. Diabetic patients were defined as persons who filled in a prescription of oral antidiabetics (OAD) or insulin in the second half of 2007. We divided this study population into two groups depending on whether they were or were not hospitalised for major complications of diabetes in 2007-2008. The group that was not hospitalised was further divided into three subgroups according to the use of drugs (only OAD, only insulin, OAD and insulin). In all study groups, we estimated the mean, the standard deviation, and the median of health care costs for each cost item by age group in the whole study group and among those who actually used a particular service. Additionally, we took samples of patients who were hospitalised for specific complications, and estimated the health care costs for the first and for the second year after the occurrence of the complication. RESULTS - The mean health care cost of the 521,545 diabetic patients involved in the analysis was 335 thousand HUF. It was 633 thousand HUF for those who were hospitalised for complications, 242 thousand for OAD users without complications, and 449 thousand for insulin users without complications. 53% of the total cost covered drug treatment and 27% acute hospital treatment. 26% of the total drug cost was spent on OADs and on insulin. The acute hospital cost and the drug cost had multiplied within the first year of complication. The latter remained high or further increased in the second year. CONCLUSION - The healthcare cost of diabetes is already very high in Hungary, especially the care for its complications. Considering the burden of disease that manifests in premature mortality, reduction in quality of life, and high cost, and the epidemiological trends, diabetes mellitus should be a public health priority in Hungary.]

LAM Extra for General Practicioners



[Chronic cough can have a profound impact on the psychosocial function of patients. Most studies agree that post-nasal drip syndrome (PNDS), asthma, gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD), and laryngo-pharyngeal reflux (LPR) are the most common causes of chronic cough in immunocompetent, non-smoking patients who are not taking angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and present with a negative chest x-ray. No diagnostic test has yet been found to define those who have PNDS other than the response to a first-generation antihistamine. Examination of the available evidence suggests that the theory of mechanical stimulation of the pharynx by mucus does not explain the occurrence of cough. Inflammatory mediators’ levels in the lower airways are higher in PNDS, cough variant asthma, and GERD, and the theory that an inflammatory process is affecting “one airway” is a plausible one. Nasal disease is more likely to result in cough from the co-existing involvement of the lower airways through a yet undefined pathway. Mediation by eosinophil and mast cells appears to be a likely mechanism. In this paper, the author summarizes all potential pulmonological, otolaryngological and other reasons of chronic cough, suggesting a systematic therapeutic algorithm.]