New ways to diagnose and manage asthma can improve care, says NICE in new guidance
This latest NICE guideline covers diagnosing, monitoring and managing asthma in adults, young people and children. It aims to improve the accuracy of diagnosis, help people to control their asthma and reduce the risk of asthma attacks.
NICE is recommending objective tests, which include spirometry and FeNO, to help confirm a diagnosis of asthma. This, they suggest, can achieve more accurate diagnosis and therefore more effective treatment
The new guidelines released yesterday recommend:
- GPs and PNs should use an objective test to diagnose asthma, not symptoms alone.
- Patients should be treated immediately if they are acutely unwell at presentation and objective tests for asthma should be performed if the equipment is available.
- Check for possible occupational asthma. Refer those with suspected occupational asthma to an occupational asthma specialist.
- For children under five with suspected asthma, treat symptoms based on observation and clinical judgement, and review on a regular basis.
- Offer a FeNO test to adults if a diagnosis of asthma is being considered. A FeNO level of 40 parts per billion (ppb) or more is a positive test.
- Offer a short-acting beta agonist as a reliever treatment to adults with newly diagnosed asthma.
- Offer a low dose of inhaled corticosteroid as the first-line maintenance treatment to adults.
Full Guideline: Asthma: diagnosis, monitoring and chronic asthma management