FeNO testing for suspected asthma patients

FeNO (Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide) [NICE DG12] testing alongside other recommended NICE diagnostic tests, will help enable more accurate diagnosis of asthma. Over 120,000 patients a year, 30% of the asthma population, are wrongly diagnosed and given inappropriate medication. Our project will look to reduce the inappropriate use of steroids and improve diagnosis, enabling correct adjustments or the right medication to be prescribed. FeNO is indicative of the severity of airway inflammation.

Using FeNO already? Visit our resources page for support and guidance.

Project overview

FeNO testing is one of the NHS England Accelerated Access Collaborative’s (AAC) Rapid Update Products (RUP). Our aim is to support south London NHS providers in adopting FeNO testing as part of their diagnostic and asthma-management pathways. Success will be seeing an improvement in accuracy of diagnosis, with subsequent appropriate prescribing and further support provided to patients who respond poorly to steroids. The AAC project will be supported by Asthma UK and the British Lung Foundation Partnership with patient and public involvement. This project commenced in April 2021 and will run for two years.

A new FeNO device per south London borough has been funded as part of the programme; these devices have been earmarked for use in primary care and are being implemented in 2022.

The benefits of FeNO

  • Improved accuracy of diagnosis for patients suspected with asthma
  • Improved effectiveness of patient care through better understanding of an individual’s condition
  • Improved patient outcomes, reducing the risk of exacerbations and admissions to hospital
  • Reduction in inappropriate prescribing, including corticosteroid prescribing
  • Reduction in the number of inappropriate referrals to secondary care clinics.

What support is there available to primary care?

The HIN is actively providing project support to GP practices and PCNs in the adoption and roll out of FeNO testing equipment and associated processes for patient identification and management. Some tools have also been made available to support the programme:

  • The Wessex Academic Health Science Network have also created a FeNO delivery toolkit, which provides downloadable tools, resources and case studies of best practice to support the adoption of FeNO testing.
  • A patient leaflet with associated communications has been created by the FeNO Rapid Uptake Working Group to explain clearly what FeNO testing is to patients and how to prepare for it.

During 2021 and throughout 2022, we will be working with South London CCG’s and PCNs to review their current diagnostic process, explore current best practice and new training being made available.

If you are interested in hosting a FeNO device in your practice or PCN, please get in touch with Pearl and Dom in our team at: hin.nhsaac@nhs.net.

We're here to help

Please contact us if you are interested in taking part.

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