The Committee on Allergy of the American College of Chest Physicians reports a statistical relationship between pulmonary tuberculosis and bronchial asthma. The following findings seem apparent after reviewing 150 patients in whom allergic bronchial asthma was associated with active or quiescent pulmonary tuberculosis.
1. About one per cent of patients with predominant pulmonary tuberculosis also have allergic bronchial asthma; an even smaller percentage of those with predominant bronchial asthma have or have had pulmonary tuberculosis.
2. Most patients who have both were adults; there is little distinction as regards sex.
3. A minority of the committee feels that bronchial asthma lessens the prognosis as regards co-existing pulmonary tuberculosis, and vice versa. The majority believes that neither condition has any important effect on the other.
4. ACTH should be given patients with severe uncontrollable status asthmaticus even though such patients also have active or quiescent pulmonary tuberculosis. A minority of the committee dissents from this view. It is understood that streptomycin, etc., should also be used in such cases. The ACTH may be life-saving. In most cases the tuberculosis does not seem to be aggravated.
5. Cortisone and prednisone are usually given over longer periods and therefore must be given more cautiously. If severe asthma persists, however, prednisone may well be used, along with anti-tuberculosis therapy.