New study finds underutilization of asthma specialist care for patients with severe asthma

A new study shows that severe asthma can lead to hospitalization, respiratory failure and even death, but despite the high risk, many Americans with this disease are treated by their primary care doctors rather than specialists.

Researchers found that despite the recommendations of medical institutions, less than half of patients (approximately 38%) see an expert at least once in two years to help control their condition. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and requires continuous management. An asthma attack occurs when the lungs become inflamed, causing the airways to contract.

Asthma symptoms—dyspnea, wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness—are caused by allergens or irritants that enter the lungs. But not all people with asthma have allergic reactions. Other causes of asthma include tobacco smoke, dust mites, cockroach droppings, air pollution, strong smells or smoke, and vigorous exercise.

An allergy specialist or pulmonologist can help people control their asthma with medications and other treatments. Pulmonologists usually participate in treatment after visiting the emergency room or hospitalization.

“Specialist care is important for managing any disease, especially chronic diseases such as severe asthma,” said Dr. Jessica Most, a pulmonologist at Jefferson Health and National Jewish Health US News and World Report.

Researchers tracked the number of asthma attacks in patients from January 1, 2015 to December 31, 2017, and found that patients who saw a specialist had 10% fewer attacks than other patients.

Within one year after the first appointment with a specialist, the rate of hospitalization, emergency visits, and rescue inhaler use was low.

Researchers report that the patients least likely to receive specialist care are men, patients with other health conditions, and patients 65 years and older.

Most people, Jefferson pulmonologists, say more work is needed to refer severe asthma patients to specialists because many of them will not go to them on their own.

According to statistics, approximately 25 million Americans suffer from asthma American Asthma and Allergy Foundation. Approximately 10 Americans die from this disease every day.

Severe asthma is usually treated with inhaled corticosteroids for long-term relief and acute attacks. Oral corticosteroids can also be prescribed.

Biologic drugs are sometimes used to better target the cells that cause inflammation in the lungs. American Lung Association Say. Most of these drugs must be delivered by injection or intravenous infusion in a doctor’s office or hospital.

The study is based on insurance data from 54,332 patients 6 years and older. In a smaller analysis of nearly 6,000 patients, Most and her team also found that for those patients who are being treated by specialists, the amount of controlled drug filling and the prescription of biologic drugs are higher. .

The research was published in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology: Practice.

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