Scientific article

Diagnosis and Management of Severe Asthma in Switzerland: Analysis of Survey Results Conducted with Specialists and General Practitioners

Published inRespiration, vol. 100, no. 6, p. 476-487
First online date2021-03-30

Background: Severe asthma commonly affects 5-10% of the asthmatic population and accounts for approximately 50% of the overall asthma costs.

Objective: This analysis investigated how severe asthma is diagnosed, treated, and managed by specialists and general practitioners (GPs) in Switzerland.

Methods: Two surveys, one each among specialists (N = 44) and GPs (N = 153), were conducted to understand their self-perception on diagnosis, treatment, and management of severe asthma.

Results: Fifty-five percent of the specialists felt very confident and 43% confident in recognizing the symptoms of severe asthma and diagnosing severe asthma. In contrast, 9% of the GPs were very confident and 59% confident in diagnosing severe asthma. More specific diagnostic tests for severe asthma, like total and specific immunoglobulin E levels and measurement of the fraction of exhaled nitric oxide, were run by specialists (χ2 = 171.4; df = 15, p < 0.001). GPs and specialists were using different measurements to assess severe asthma (χ2 = 385.2; df = 13, p < 0.001) and their prescribing patterns differed significantly (χ2 = 189.8; df = 10, p < 0.001). GPs referred patients with severe asthma if the diagnosis was unclear (24%), if treatment failure occurred (26%), and if the patients were at high risk (41%).

Conclusions: Oral corticosteroids (OCSs) are considered as background therapy for severe asthma by GPs and specialists. In order to reduce the OCS burden, there is a need to improve the awareness for other add-on therapies. A joint collaboration between GPs and specialists is the key to leverage therapeutic strategies together.

  • Asthma therapies
  • Biological treatments
  • Corticosteroids
  • Diagnosis
  • Management
  • Severe asthma
  • Survey
  • Adolescent
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / epidemiology
  • Asthma / therapy
  • Clinical Competence
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Management
  • Female
  • General Practitioners / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Patient Acuity
  • Referral and Consultation / organization & administration
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
Citation (ISO format)
JANDUS, Peter, DUC, Mélanie, FAY, Bianca Christine. Diagnosis and Management of Severe Asthma in Switzerland: Analysis of Survey Results Conducted with Specialists and General Practitioners. In: Respiration, 2021, vol. 100, n° 6, p. 476–487. doi: 10.1159/000514628
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0025-7931

Technical informations

Creation03/18/2022 7:38:00 AM
First validation03/18/2022 7:38:00 AM
Update time03/16/2023 2:55:19 AM
Status update03/16/2023 2:55:19 AM
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