Nearly one-third of patients who have been diagnosed with a respiratory disease not related to asthma completed a validated questionnaire that suggested an asthma diagnosis, according to recent research.
“Asthma under/misdiagnosis and consequent inappropriate pharmacological treatment still affects asthma management. Furthermore they represent important factors contributing to asthma morbidity and mortality, whereas early detection and management might improve the longterm prognosis of affected patients,” Maria Sandra Magnoni, MD, from the medical and scientific department at GlaxoSmithKline in Verona, Italy, and colleagues wrote.
Magnoni and colleagues evaluated 2,090 patients recruited from 540 general practitioners who completed the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS). Patients were aged 18 years or older and had at least three inhaled corticosteroids prescriptions within the past 12 months, indicating a respiratory disease.
Mean age of the patients was 54.9 years and 54.1% were women. There were 991 cases of asthma and 1,099 cases of another respiratory disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (21.7%), unspecific upper respiratory tract infections (12.2%) or chronic/acute bronchitis (11.5%), according to the abstract. Although the 1,099 patients had a physician diagnosis not related to asthma, ECRHS results from 365 patients (33.2%) suggested an asthma diagnosis, Magnoni and colleagues noted.
“Educational efforts should be directed to improve the capability of primary care professionals, particularly GPs, to recognize asthma symptoms and to address patients to the correct diagnostic work-up and proper treatment,” Magnoni and colleagues wrote. “The use of a validated questionnaire could be of help for patients’ identification.” – by Jeff Craven
Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.