ATS, ERS jointly issue asthma assessment guidelines

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The American Thoracic Society and the European Respiratory Society have released official standards for clinical trials and practice with respect to the assessment of asthma.

The American Thoracic Society and European Respiratory Society set up the task force of 24 asthma experts from North America, Europe, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, to provide standardised definitions and measurement recommendations for three main areas: asthma control, asthma severity and asthma exacerbations

Asthma control was defined as the extent to which asthma symptoms have been reduced or removed by treatment, with respect to both current clinical control and future risk.
Asthma severity was defined as the intensity of treatment required to achieve good asthma control.

Asthma exacerbations were defined as events where symptoms worsen enough to require urgent treatment over three or more days to prevent serious consequences.

The task force made the clinical recommendation that doctors routinely ask every asthma patient a few simple questions about their asthma symptoms and management of their condition.

“More research is needed to understand more clearly how asthma control and risks for asthma exacerbations can be best assessed for the different types (i.e., phenotypes) of asthma, which have different responses to therapy,” John Heffner, M.D., past president of the ATS, confirmed.

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