Wednesday, June 19, 2024

New asthma findings a breath of fresh air

Asthma-related hospital admissions plummeted by almost 20% across a four-year period, new findings have shown.

A study conducted by the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand (MRINZ) and led by Professor Richard Beasley has revealed that between 2019 and 2022, there was a 108% rise in the use of combination (2-in-1) inhalers. This surge coincided with a 17% decrease in hospital admissions for asthma during the same period.

Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ Chief Executive Ms Letitia Harding says the study shows that New Zealand is leading the world in effective asthma management and treatment.

“This study also reflects the hard work the Foundation does in disseminating information that changes asthma management and supports the 1-in-8 Kiwis living with asthma in New Zealand,” she said.

“Our goal is to reduce hospitalisations for all respiratory conditions and this is proof that our work makes a difference.”

The Foundation, with the support of its Scientific Advisory Board (of which Professor Beasley is also a member), develops and distributes the national asthma guidelines for all health professionals in New Zealand.

“This has been pivotal in standardising asthma care and ensuring that the best practices are implemented nationwide,” Ms Harding says.

The Foundation receives no Government funding, so the development of these crucial resources is made possible through community grants, Friends of the Foundation partners and donations from New Zealanders, she said.

A 2020 update to the New Zealand asthma guidelines – based on MRINZ research – stated that the (2-in-1) combination inhaler was the preferred treatment for asthma treatment for adolescents and adults in Aotearoa.

This update led to a spike in the use of combination inhalers, “representing a pivotal moment in asthma management in New Zealand”, the study found.

Foundation Medical Director, Professor Bob Hancox says it is great to see that New Zealand doctors are using the Foundation’s guidelines in their practice.

“These guidelines incorporate important evidence from New Zealand-based research, and the health of many patients has benefited from their rapid uptake,” he said.

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