Uncontrolled severe asthma in children is burdensome and challenging to manage. This study aims to describe outcomes in children with uncontrolled severe asthma managed in a nurse-led severe asthma clinic (SAC).
This retrospective analysis uses data collected from children referred by a paediatric respiratory specialist to a nurse-led SAC for uncontrolled severe asthma between 2014 and 2019. The pre-clinical assessments included a home visit to assess modifiable factors that could be addressed to improve control. A comprehensive lung function analysis was conducted at each visit. Interventions were personalised and included biologic agents. Statistical analysis was performed using nonparametric, two-tailed Mann-Whitney U-test, the parametric Student’s t-test, or analysis of variance (ANOVA) as appropriate.
Twenty-three children with a median age of 12 years were seen once, and 16 were followed up. Compared to a non-asthmatic (NA) and asthmatic (A) age-matched cohort, children with severe asthma (SA) had a lower FEV1, and FVC% predicted before and after bronchodilator inhalation, and a higher mean Lung Clearance Index [LCI] (10.5 [SA] versus 7.3 [NA] versus 7.6 [A], p = 0.003). Almost 80% of children with SA had an abnormal LCI, and 48% had a reduced FEV1% at the first SAC visit. Asthma control and FEV1% predicted significantly improved at a follow-up visit, while LCI remained abnormal in the majority of children (83%).
Over time, many children with severe asthma showed improved clinical outcomes and lung function while lung ventilation inhomogeneities persisted. Future appropriately controlled studies are required to determine if a nurse-led multidisciplinary SAC is associated with better outcomes.