Currently in the UK, there are over nine million lifetime diagnosed prevalent cases of asthma and approximately 13 million undiagnosed asthma patients, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Bahram Hassanpourfard, Epidemiologist Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “The testing limitations of asthma in primary care services likely result in a high number of undiagnosed patients. NHS uses three main tests for asthma diagnosis: peak flow, spirometry, and FeNo (fractional exhaled nitric oxide). However, the majority of primary care services do not have the facilities nor trained staff to conduct spirometry or FeNo tests. Although the peak flow test is commonly used, it can cause over-, under- or misdiagnosis. The spirometry testing can take up to four standard doctor’s appointments to conduct.”
The COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the use of primary and secondary care services. As a result, there is an expected further decline in the asthma diagnosis rate for 2020 into 2021. However, these trends may be temporary, with diagnosis rates likely returning to previous levels as the pandemic comes to an end. For 2020-2021, as the UK started the vaccination, GlobalData estimates that by the end of 2021 the primary care system will revert back to its previous diagnosis rate.
Hassanpourfard concludes: “More resources should be allocated towards training staff and increasing testing facilities to help improve patient outcomes as a result of enhanced diagnosis rate.”