Therapy and Management | Management | Assessment

Monitoring symptoms, lung function and medication

Objective assessment of disease severity is important for the implementation and efficacy control of individual asthma management guidelines. Assessment methods include evaluation of symptoms, measurement of lung function and medication requirements.

Structured questionnaires can be used to quantify self-reported symptoms as well as amount and type of medication applied. Symtom questionnaires seem to be a sensitive method for detecting deterioration of asthma.

Lung function measurements provide an indirect assessment of airway hyperresponsiveness, which may correlate with the degree of airway inflammation. Peak expiratory flow (PEF) measurements may be sufficient as the minimum objective parameter and should be assessed in the office, emergency department, hospital and at home. It is essential to quantify and monitor disease severity, diurnal variation, response to chronic treatment and response to therapy in acute exacerbations as well as to detect asymptomatic deterioration. Additionally it provides objective justification for therapy to the patient reflecting the fact that patients with access to information about their PEF use their medication more appropriately. Still spirometry may be useful to confirm home PEF measurements made with a peak flow meter in selected patients.

Literature:

O'Byrne P. GINA Executive Commitee. Global strategy for asthma management and prevention. 2004. National Institutes of Health. Publication No 02-3659

Requirements on PEF measurements in asthma patients

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