New British Thoracic Society Asthma Guideline for 2019

The British Thoracic Society (BTS) have updated their Guideline for 2019. There are some changes to diagnosis, monitoring asthma, and new information about identifying people with asthma who are at risk from asthma attack. There are small yet significant changes to pharmacological management, which include clearer information on when to refer to specialist care, and about quadrupling the dose of inhaled steroids in an asthma attack.

The BTS are also meeting with NICE (who published an asthma guideline of their own in 2017) with the aim of issuing a joint guideline. This will hopefully help to end any confusion there has been about the different sets of advice given by the different guidelines.

This is to be welcomed as recent news from Asthma UK indicates that deaths from asthma are increasing. In 2014, asthma mortality was stable at around 1100 deaths per year. Sadly this has risen over the past few years to 1400, meaning that four people are dying every day because of asthma. The National Review of Asthma Deaths, in which a tutor from the Primary Care Training Centre participated, showed that the majority of asthma deaths were avoidable.

The Primary Care Training Centre is currently using the latest information from the BTS, NICE and Asthma UK, to update its course materials, and the popular respiratory update days.

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