The purpose of this study is to identify the causes of asthma that were not previously
suspected, to better understand the effects of inhaled steroids on asthma and to identify
new way to treat asthma.
In this study, we will explore mechanisms of exacerbation in asthma by careful
characterization studies in asthmatics presenting in acute severe exacerbation.
Specifically, we will determine the frequency of secretor status in these subjects by blood
and saliva testing, and we will also perform a detailed cellular and biochemical analysis of
their airway secretions. We will collect airway secretions using two methods. One method
will be to have subjects cough sputum into a clean plastic container. The other method only
applies to asthmatics with near-fatal asthma requiring intubation and mechanical
ventilation. In these asthmatics, we will collect airway secretions by tracheal aspirate
using methods normally applied in their clinical care.
1. Male and female subjects with a history of asthma between the ages of 18 to 75 years.
2. Physician diagnosis of asthma.
3. Currently experiencing an acute exacerbation of asthma. This exacerbation may be
severe necessitating treatment in the emergency room, ICU, or hospital ward.
4. Ability to provide informed consent.
1. Lung disease other than asthma.
2. Females who are lactating or who are pregnant.
3. Use of recreational drugs in the 1 month preceding the study.