Patient quote

"I recently spent several days on Ward 29 and cannot speak highly enough of the care I received from every member of staff.  Everyone did their duty efficiently and what is more cheerfully, filling everyone in the ward with confidence.  Very many thanks to all concerned."  Ms LK

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Jargon buster

asthma

A condition that causes the airways of the lungs (the bronchi) to become swollen and irritated often caused by an allergic reaction to substances such as pollen, animal hair, dust mites cold air and chest infections. Find out more about this condition at Asthma UK.

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Cardiothoracic Services (Heart and Lung)

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.

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