New Ways to Diagnosis Can Improve Asthma Care

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is suggesting new objective tests’ such as spirometry and fractional exhaled nitric oxide is presented, to help confirm a diagnosis of asthma.

NICE is suggesting new objective tests’such as spirometry be introduced to assess how much air a person inhales and exhales, and how rapidly.

Better approaches to diagnose and manage asthma can improve care, according to new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE). NICE is recommending new objective tests’ be introduced which include spirometry and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), to help confirm a diagnosis of asthma.

Spirometry tests evaluate how well somebody’s lungs work by measuring how much air they inhale in and exhale, and how rapidly. FeNO tests measure the levels of nitric oxide in the breath. Increased levels are thought to be related with lung inflammation and asthma.

As indicated by NICE these tests can provide a more accurate diagnosis and therefore more effective treatment, and they will also help tackle inappropriate diagnosis and ensure that after diagnosis, the individual is monitored to ensure their symptoms still demonstrate asthma.

“For most people with suspected asthma, we are recommending objective testing with spirometry and FeNO; a significant improvement to current practice, which will set aside the NHS some time to implement, with additional infrastructure and training required in primary care, said by Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for guidelines at NICE.

“New models could offer the opportunity to implement these recommendations of care being developed locally. “To make testing efficient and affordable, this may involve establishing diagnostic hubs.”

“The investment and training needed to implement the new guidance will require time. Meanwhile, essential care services should implement what they can of the new guidelines, utilizing currently available ways to diagnosis until the infrastructure for objective testing is in place.”

The NICE guidance also recommends that individuals with poorly controlled asthma are given a leukotriene receptor antagonist (LTRA) tablet when preventer inhalers are never again helping them increase great control of their symptoms, previously more costly treatments are considered.

Asthma UK estimates that around 4.5m people in England are receiving treatment for asthma.


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