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Leading lung charity calls for more asthma test funding

FeNO testing is one of the assessments to diagnose and manage asthma that should be more widely available to patients in England. A new report by charity Asthma + Lung UK discusses the “dire state” of lung healthcare in the country, often leaving people with breathing difficulties without a confirmed and accurate diagnosis, or receiving treatment for conditions they don’t have, it says.1

Asthma + Lung UK’s report states that despite lung conditions being the third biggest killer in the UK, simple tests for these common problems aren’t widely available to GPs, “forcing them to make educated guesses when it comes to diagnosis”. Tests include FeNO and spirometry.1 FeNO is straightforward and non-invasive, with results available immediately at the point-of-care, all with a portable desktop testing device that is readily available.2,3

“Early detection is crucial for treating and managing lung conditions effectively and can help slow down the progression of incurable lung diseases […] or protect people from potentially life-threatening asthma attacks,” the charity says.1

The report, Saving your breath: how better lung health benefits us all, outlines three recommendations that, if adopted, could offer relief to people affected, reduce pressure and deliver savings for the NHS, the charity says.1 These include ensuring diagnostic tests are funded, improving access to the right treatment and providing people with the support they need to manage their lung condition to keep them well and out of hospital.1

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FeNO testing is supported by the Government’s Quality Outcomes Framework (QOF), with QOF points available to all GP practices in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

QOF indicator AST011 grants points for asthma patients registered with a record of spirometry and one other objective test. That test can either be FeNO, reversibility or variability. Reversibility takes 40 minutes and variability takes two weeks. At around two minutes and with results available at the point-of-care, FeNO is a valuable and convenient test.3-5

To see how you could get help to fit FeNO testing into your asthma care routine, try our handy online QOF calculator today to find out the funds you could access.



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References

1. Asthma & Lung UK. 'Abysmal' lack of testing for lung conditions is forcing GPs to play a 'guessing game' with diagnosis. Available at; https://www.asthma.org.uk/media/press-releases/abysmal-lack-testing-lung-conditions-forcing-gps-play-guessing-game-diagnosis. Accessed; October 2023. 2. Alving K et al. Validation of a new portable exhaled nitric oxide analyzer, NIOX VERO®: randomized studies in asthma. Pulm Ther. 2017;3:207-218. 3. Busse WW et al. Baseline FeNO as a prognostic biomarker for subsequent severe asthma exacerbations in patients with uncontrolled, moderate-to-severe asthma receiving placebo in the LIBERTY ASTHMA QUEST study: a post-hoc analysis. Lancet Respir Med. 2021;9(10):1165-1173. 4. Hanania NA et al. Measurement of fractional exhaled nitric oxide in real-world clinical practice alters asthma treatment decisions. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2018;120(4):414-418. 5. Menzies-Gow A et al. Clinical utility of fractional exhaled nitric oxide in severe asthma management. Eur Respir J. 2020;55(3):1901633.