Overview of the programme

Asthma has a huge impact on the lives of patients and leads to 60,000 hospital admissions each year. Severe asthma attacks can be potentially life-threatening and three people in the UK each day die of an asthma attack. (Source: British Lung Foundation)

However, many asthma attacks could be avoided through improvements to asthma care including early diagnosis, improved treatment, and self-management education. Asthma and respiratory disease are a key clinical priority for the NHS, as identified in the NHS Long Term Plan

AHSNs are transforming asthma care by supporting their local clinical teams and health systems to adopt FeNO testing. Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide (FeNO) tests measure the amount of nitric oxide in an exhaled breath – a biomarker for asthma which provides an indication of the level of inflammation in the airways. It is a non-invasive, simple test that takes seconds to perform and gives a result almost immediately.

FeNO testing can improve patient care by contributing to a faster and more effective diagnosis for patients with suspected asthma and can be used to monitor patient response to treatments. In combination with other tests, FeNO gives greater certainty about a diagnosis of asthma, resulting in more people ending up on the right treatment for the right condition, with less waste of medicines.

By bringing together local health and care systems, industry partners, charities, and patients, AHSNs are working to increase adoption of FeNO in primary care and improve the pathways for people with suspected and confirmed asthma. This work includes access to implementation support, shared learning collaboratives and useful resources.

FeNO is part of the Accelerated Access Collaborative’s Rapid Uptake Products Programme 2021-22, designed to support wider adoption and spread of proven innovations.

During the first 18 months of this work, an estimated 146,000 additional patients benefitted from FeNO testing across England, with hundreds of additional FeNO devices entering use and improving access for patients.

Resources are available on Wessex AHSN website.

Related content links

AHSNs are also transforming asthma pathways by improving access to innovative biological therapies.

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