Complex Asthma Service
Contact: (0191) 213 7693 - Dr B Higgins, Consultant Respiratory Physician
Asthma is a common lung condition which has a relatively small impact on many people’s day to day lives. However, it is highly unpredictable and can occasionally develop into a serious lung condition characterised by wheezing, coughing and breathlessness. This is known as “difficult” or “complex asthma”.
The characteristics of “complex asthma” differ from one person to another, but can include the following:
- highly unpredictable in occurrence and severity
- can be life threatening if the asthma attack is very severe
- the side effects of daily medication can affect the patient's health and ability to get on with daily life
- can occur even when the patient is on strong oral steroid medication
- can lead to two or more emergency visits to hospital every year.
“Complex asthma” represents one of the greatest challenges in respiratory medicine, but fortunately it affects only about 10% of children and 5% of adults. As these patients can be at risk of life-threatening attacks, close monitoring is essential to control the attacks and the potential side effects of medication.
Pioneering new ways to treat asthma
Our clinicians are committed to developing new ways of treating asthma and, through their close cooperation with Newcastle University, are renowned nationally for their high quality research programmes. Our collaboration with major pharmaceutical companies has helped develop new treatments, such as Xolair/Omaluzimab and Bronchial Thermoplasty.
Many of these treatments are not yet widely available and are still being assessed and compared to the treatments used more commonly today.