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New test for asthma will save NHS millions, says NICE

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5540 (Published 29 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5540
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. London

GPs should diagnose asthma using objective tests including fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) and spirometry, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends.1 However, NICE says this change to current practice will take the NHS some time to implement, with additional infrastructure and training needed in primary care.

NICE says that the current practice of relying on signs and symptoms of asthma without objective testing can lead to overdiagnosis. It estimates that using objective tests could save the NHS between £10m and £15m (€11.2m and €16.7m; $13.2m and $19.9m) over a five year period, mainly through reducing unnecessary prescriptions.

FeNO tests measure the concentrations of nitric oxide in a …

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