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Prim Care Respir J. 2009 Jan;18 Suppl 1:S1-16. doi: 10.3132/pcrj.2008.00067.

Summary of the 2008 BTS/SIGN British Guideline on the management of asthma.

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Allergy and Respiratory Research Group, Division of Community Health Sciences, GP Section, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


The 2008 BTS/SIGN British Guideline on the management of asthma provides comprehensive updated evidence-based guidance on asthma management for healthcare professionals. This primary care-focussed summary has been produced to aid dissemination and implementation of the key guideline messages into primary care. The section on diagnosis emphasises the new integrated symptom-based approach with clinicians using their deductive skills to determine the probability that the patient has asthma. The various tools used for monitoring asthma are discussed. There are sections on both non-pharmacological and pharmacological management of chronic asthma in adults and children. Treatment options for children are subdivided into the under-5s and children aged 5-12 years. Poor asthma control is manifested by exacerbations and acute asthma. Personalised asthma action plans for guided self management should be provided and used when levels of asthma control change. There are sections on difficult asthma and the treatment of exacerbations and acute severe asthma. Various outcome measures for auditing the quality of asthma care are discussed.

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