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Asthma sufferers recommended breath test pioneered in Gloucestershire

By Impeyecho  |  Posted: April 03, 2014

  • Breath test demonstration

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A new breath test already being used by pioneering medics in Gloucestershire has been recommended for use on the NHS in a bid to prevent asthma attacks.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has issued new guidance for the NHS recommending the use of simple, 10-second tests to help diagnose and treat asthma in children and adults.

It is hoped the breath tests - which check airways inflammation and could help to prevent asthma attacks and hospitalisations for sufferers - will now be made widely available on the NHS.

But patients in Gloucestershire are already benefiting from the 10-second test, thanks to forward-thinking asthma nurses.

Carried out with a handheld device, the test measures fractional exhaled nitric oxide, or FeNO levels, which are higher in people with asthma than those without, to help diagnose and manage the condition.

Senior nurse practitioner, Carol Stonham, said: “Diagnosing and managing asthma using the person’s history and symptoms can sometimes be difficult because certain symptoms related to asthma diagnosis are shared with other conditions including Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), bacterial lung infections and myriad of other similar respiratory conditions.

“Being able to identify inflammation of the lung through the measurement of Nitric Oxide is an excellent new way to help in the accurate diagnosis of asthma and to monitor the effectiveness of asthma medication.”

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