1. ITV Report

Child asthma being 'over-diagnosed' by doctors, study suggests

New study suggests more than half of child asthma patients may have been 'over-diagnosed' Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Child asthma is being 'over-diagnosed' by doctors and more than half of those told they have the condition may not actually have it, a new study suggests.

Researchers at the University Medical Centre Utrecht, in Holland, claimed their study into the respiratory condition indicated doctors were failing to properly assess youngsters or carry out appropriate lung function tests resulting in over-diagnosis.

The findings have spurred the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) to examine how GPs diagnose asthma in the UK where more than a million children are thought to have it.

And Professor Mark Baker, director of clinical practice at Nice, told the Telegraph the health body was developing guidelines to provide advice on the most suitable tests for accurately diagnosing asthma.

1.1 m
UK children currently recieve treatment for asthma

One of the lead researchers in the Dutch study, Ingrid Looijmans-van den Akker, said of the 652 youngsters diagnosed with asthma and taking part in the study only 16.1% of those had the diagnosis confirmed with a simple test to monitor lung function.

Over-diagnosis of childhood asthma is common in primary care, leading to unnecessary treatment, disease burden, and impact on quality of life.

However, only in a small percentage of children is a diagnosis of asthma confirmed by lung function tests.

– Ingrid Looijmans-van den Akker