The contribution of an asthma diagnostic consultation service in obtaining an accurate asthma diagnosis for primary care patients: results of a real-life study

R. M. E. Gillis*, W. van Litsenburg, R. H. van Balkom, J. W. Muris, F. W. Smeenk

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Previous studies showed that general practitioners have problems in diagnosing asthma accurately, resulting in both under and overdiagnosis. To support general practitioners in their diagnostic process, an asthma diagnostic consultation service was set up. We evaluated the performance of this asthma diagnostic consultation service by analysing the (dis) concordance between the general practitioners working hypotheses and the asthma diagnostic consultation service diagnoses and possible consequences this had on the patients' pharmacotherapy. In total 659 patients were included in this study. At this service the patients' medical history was taken and a physical examination and a histamine challenge test were carried out. We compared the general practitioners working hypotheses with the asthma diagnostic consultation service diagnoses and the change in medication that was incurred. In 52% (n = 340) an asthma diagnosis was excluded. The diagnosis was confirmed in 42% (n = 275). Furthermore, chronic rhinitis was diagnosed in 40% (n = 261) of the patients whereas this was noted in 25% (n = 163) by their general practitioner. The adjusted diagnosis resulted in a change of medication for more than half of all patients. In 10% (n = 63) medication was started because of a new asthma diagnosis. The 'one-stop-shop' principle was met with 53% of patients and 91% (n = 599) were referred back to their general practitioner, mostly within 6 months. Only 6% (n = 41) remained under control of the asthma diagnostic consultation service because of severe unstable asthma. In conclusion, the asthma diagnostic consultation service helped general practitioners significantly in setting accurate diagnoses for their patients with an asthma hypothesis. This may contribute to diminish the problem of over and underdiagnosis and may result in more appropriate treatment regimens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
Number of pages5
Journalnpj Primary Care Respiratory Medicine
Volume27
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 May 2017

Keywords

  • RHINITIS

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