Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease characterized by respiratory symptoms, airway inflammation, airway obstruction and airway hyper-responsiveness. Asthma is common and directly affects 10% of Australians, 1-5% of adults in Asia and 300 million people worldwide. It is a heterogeneous disorder with many clinical, molecular, biological and pathophysiological phenotypes. Current management strategies successfully treat the majority of patients with asthma who have access to them. However, there is a subset of an estimated 5-10% of patients with asthma who have severe disease and are disproportionately impacted by symptoms, exacerbations and overall illness burden. The care required for this relatively small proportion of patients is also significant and has a major impact on the healthcare system. A number of new therapies that hold promise for severe asthma are currently in clinical trials or are entering the Australian and international market. However, recognition of severe asthma in clinical practice is variable, and there is little consensus on the best models of care or how to integrate emerging and often costly therapies into current practice. In this article, we report on roundtable discussions held with severe asthma experts from around Australia, and make recommendations about approaches for better patient diagnosis and assessment. We assess current models of care for patient management and discuss how approaches may be optimized to improve patient outcomes. Finally, we propose mechanisms to assess new therapies and how to best integrate these approaches into future treatment.
Keywords: asthma; co-morbidity; multidimensional assessment; quality of life; targeted therapy.
© 2016 Asian Pacific Society of Respirology.