Diagnosis and Management of Asthma – The Swiss Guidelines

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Abstract

The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) is a network of individuals, organizations, and public health officials that was established to disseminate information about the care of patients with asthma and to improve asthma care. The GINA (“Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention”) report has been updated annually since 2002. Due to new knowledge and therapeutic development in the field, the Swiss Respiratory Society felt the need to provide a new document that is based on both the available literature and the recommendations of the 2016 GINA report. Key new features of the 2016 GINA report include a “new” definition of asthma, underscoring its heterogeneous nature, and the core elements of variable symptoms and variable expiratory airflow limitation; the importance of confirming the diagnosis of asthma in order to minimize both under- and overtreatment; practical tools for the assessment of symptom control and risk factors for adverse outcomes; a comprehensive approach to asthma management that acknowledges the foundational role of inhaled corticosteroid therapy, but also provides a framework for individualizing patient care; an emphasis on maximizing the benefit of available medications by addressing common problems such as incorrect inhaler technique and poor adherence; a continuum of care for worsening asthma, starting with early self-management and progressing to primary care or acute care management; and diagnosis of the asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap syndrome. This document is meant to advice the key stakeholders on the diagnosis and management of asthma and highlights the need to individualize the care of each and every asthmatic patient.

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