Asthma under/misdiagnosis in primary care setting: An observational community-based study in Italy

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Background: Published data suggest that asthma is significantly under/misdiagnosed. The present community-based study performed in Italy aims at investigating the level of asthma under/misdiagnosis among patients referring to the General Practitioner (GP) for respiratory symptoms and undergoing Inhaled corticosteroids. Methods: A sub-analysis of a previously published observational cross-sectional study has been provided. It included subjects registered in the GP databases with at least three prescriptions of inhaled or nebulised corticosteroids during the 12 months preceding the start of the study. All subjects, independently of the diagnosis, were invited to visit their GP's office for a standardised interview and to fill the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS) questionnaire. Results: The studies involved 540 GPs in most of the Italian regions and 2090 subjects (mean age 54.9 years, 54.1 % females) were enrolled. Among them 991 cases of physician-diagnosed asthma were observed while 1099 subjects received a diagnosis other than asthma (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic upper respiratory tract infections etc.). Among the lasts, the ECRHS questionnaire was suggestive for asthma diagnosis in 365 subjects (33.2 %). Conclusions: The data suggest that there is still a large under/misdiagnosis of asthma in the Italian primary care setting, despite the spread of GINA guidelines nearly 20 years before this study. A validated tool like the ECRHS questionnaire has detected a considerable proportion of potentially asthmatic patients who should be addressed to lung function assessment to confirm the diagnosis. Further educational efforts directed to the GPs are needed to improve their diagnosis of asthma (SAM104964).




Magnoni, M. S., Caminati, M., Senna, G., Arpinelli, F., Rizzi, A., Dama, A. R., … Caramori, G. (2015). Asthma under/misdiagnosis in primary care setting: An observational community-based study in Italy. Clinical and Molecular Allergy, 13(1).

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