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The British Thoracic Society (BTS) has published its 2017 Adult Asthma Audit

The British Thoracic Society (BTS) has published its 2017 Adult Asthma Audit which focuses on hospital admissions of people with acute asthma. The audit examined data available for 4258 patients admitted to 171 hospitals.

These findings, combined with two new NICE asthma diagnosis and monitoring, and management guidelines, due to be published tomorrow, will enable primary care clinicians to take a fresh look at whether they are providing optimal asthma diagnosis and care and prevent admissions to hospital.

The key findings relevant to primary care are:

  • 69% of patients had had a previous admission and 17% of patients had previously been admitted to critical care. 30% of patients had been readmitted to hospital in the previous 12 months.
  • 89% of patients had a diagnosis of asthma on admission, and only 42% of those had a diagnosis supported by objective testing. The report says this data suggests that more needs to be done to ensure that a diagnosis of asthma is made on an objective basis. The new NICE guidelines are expected to focus on objective testing and on the importance of recording the basis for diagnosis in the patient’s notes.
  • Smoking rates among patients admitted with asthma (27%) were significantly higher than among the general population (16%).
  • Only 68% of patients were on regular inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) before the admission and 9% were on ICS but were poorly concordant. A further 15% were commenced on ICS prior to discharge. The new NICE guidelines are expected to reinforce ICS as the bedrock of asthma treatment.


  • Download the audit HERE
  • Look out for a PCRS-UK e alert on Tuesday which will provide links to the new NICE asthma guidelines and a PCRS-UK briefing paper outlining guidance for primary care.
  • Discuss the data in this audit with colleagues in your practice and your local group.

Ask yourselves:

  • Are you confident that you are making an accurate diagnosis in patients with suspected asthma?
  • Are you doing everything you can to enable patients to self-manage and prevent hospital admissions?
  • Have you identified patients at high risk of an admission – and particularly those who have been admitted already in the last 12 months?

Use these PCRS-UK resources to make sure you are using every opportunity to help your patients to stop smoking. 

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