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Asthma control: how it can be best assessed?

Fu, Juan-juana,b; McDonald, Vanessa M.b,c; Wang, Ganga; Gibson, Peter G.b,d

Current Opinion in Pulmonary Medicine: January 2014 - Volume 20 - Issue 1 - p 1–7
doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000003
ASTHMA: Edited by Nicola A. Hanania and Zuzana Diamant

Purpose of review A control-based asthma assessment is recommended by guidelines, but questions remain about how to assess the level of asthma control, and how current control status relates to future risks and biomarkers of disease pathogenesis. This review summarizes recent published data relating to asthma control and describes the challenges created by currently available instruments.

Recent findings The current literature continues to show the widespread use of various assessment instruments for asthma control, in particular those with composite scores. However, poor correlations exist between the different assessment tools, and these instruments lack diagnostic accuracy to differentiate uncontrolled asthma. Whereas the concept of asthma control has been extended to add an assessment of future risks to the clinical control, clinical asthma control as measured by current available assessment tools does not necessary relate to the intrinsic disease activity which is typically characterized by inflammation in asthma.

Summary The application of asthma control assessment represents an improvement in asthma management. The measurement of underlying disease activity potentially by biomarkers to assess disease control will lead to an improved assessment of the overall control of asthma, and further studies addressing this are needed.

aRespiratory Group, Department of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China

bPriority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases, School of Health and Medicine

cSchool of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Newcastle

dDepartment of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, John Hunter Hospital, New Lambton Heights, New South Wales, Australia

Correspondence to Professor Peter G. Gibson, Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Diseases, Hunter Medical Research Institute, Lot 1, Kookaburra Circuit, New Lambton Heights, NSW 2305, Australia. Tel: +61 2 40420143; fax: +61 2 40420046; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins