The GINA asthma strategy report: what’s new for primary care?
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The Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) was established in 1993 by the World Health Organization and National Heart Lung and Blood Institute to develop a global strategy for managing and preventing asthma. GINA reports, now funded independently through the sale of GINA products, have provided the foundation for many national guidelines. They are prepared by international experts from primary, secondary and tertiary care, and are annually updated following a review of evidence. In 2014, a major revision of the GINA report was published, that took into account advances in evidence not only about asthma and its treatment, but also about how to improve implementation of evidence-based recommendations in clinical practice. This paper summarises key changes relevant to primary care in the new GINA report. A noticeable difference is the report's radically different approach, now clinically-focussed, with multiple practical tools and flow charts to improve its utility for busy frontline clinicians. Key changes in recommendations include a new, diagnosis-centred definition of asthma; more detail about how to assess current symptom control and future risk; a comprehensive approach to tailoring treatment for individual patients; expanded indications for commencing inhaled corticosteroids; new recommendations for written asthma action plans; a new chapter on diagnosis and initial treatment of patients with asthma-COPD overlap syndrome; and a revised approach to diagnosing asthma in preschool children. The 2014 GINA report (further updated in 2015) moved away from a 'textbook' approach to provide clinicians with up-to-date evidence about strategies to control symptoms and minimise asthma risk, in a practical, practice-centred format.
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