Real-life impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on the management of pediatric and adult asthma: a survey by the EAACI Asthma Section

Real-life impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on the management of pediatric and adult asthma: a survey by the EAACI Asthma Section

Abstract

Background

The restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic impact heavily the management of chronic diseases like asthma. This study aimed to evaluate the management of adults and children with asthma during COVID-19-related lockdown.

Methods

A survey was launched by the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) via e-mail, website, and social media to EAACI members and members of peer societies.

Results

The survey was completed by 339 healthcare professionals from 52 countries. 79% of follow-up consultations were replaced by phone calls, whereas 49% of newly referred patients attended the clinic. 62%, 76%, 66%, 76%, and 87% of responders did not conduct spirometry, impulse oscillometry, bronchodilator test, FeNO, or methacholine provocation, respectively, for asthma diagnosis in adults. The numbers were similar for children. 73% of responders based the initial asthma diagnosis and the prescription of inhaled therapy on clinical parameters only. Lung function tests were used in 29% of cases to monitor asthma worsening, and only 56% of participants were recommended to their patients ambulatory peak expiratory flow (PEF) measurements. Using a 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much) scale, the responders considered that the quality of healthcare provided and the patients’ asthma status had deteriorated during the lockdown with 3.2 points and 2.8 points, respectively.

Conclusion

Collectively, these results suggest that all necessary resources should be allocated to ensure the performance of lung function tests for initial diagnosis, whereas digital remote monitoring should be reinforced for the follow-up of children and adults with asthma.