Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Med J Aust. 2008 Apr 21;188(8 Suppl):S50-2.

Models of chronic disease management in primary care for patients with mild-to-moderate asthma or COPD: a narrative review.

Author information

  • 1School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia.



To review the literature for any promising strategies for the primary care management of mild-to-moderate asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adults.


Using "MeSH" terms for COPD, asthma and primary health care, we conducted an extensive literature search for relevant meta-analyses, systematic reviews, narrative reviews, reports and individual studies. Grey literature was also included. We chose a narrative review approach because of substantial heterogeneity of study designs in the literature.


1119 articles of potential relevance were retained, of which 246 were included in our review. There was insufficient evidence to determine whether general practitioners with a special interest (GPwSI) in respiratory care improved the diagnosis and management of mild-to-moderate COPD. An asthma service involving GPwSI increased respiratory drug costs but reduced the costs for less specific drugs. No clear benefit has been shown for practice nurse-run asthma clinics in primary care compared with usual care in altering asthma morbidity, quality of life, lung function or medication use. Evidence to determine the effectiveness of practice nurse-run COPD clinics could not be found. Self-management education, GP review and action plans may produce short-term benefits for asthma patients, particularly those with moderate-to-severe disease, but the evidence for a similar approach to patients with mild-to-moderate COPD is equivocal. There has been poor uptake of respiratory clinical guidelines relevant to primary care - partly because most guidelines are based on moderate-to-severe disease. Spirometry programs in primary care are useful for differential diagnosis of asthma and COPD. Spirometry may alter the management of mild asthma, but there is a lack of evidence that it alters the management of COPD in primary care.


The role of primary health care in management of mild-to-moderate asthma and COPD requires further investigation using randomised controlled trials.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Australasian Medical Publishing Company
    Loading ...
    Support Center