The Right Questions to Ask an Asthma Patient

Dr Andrew Menzies-Gow is a UK based consultant in respiratory medicine with a particular interest in asthma that continues to be symptomatic. In this interview he discusses the typical symptoms his patients experience and the outcomes he looks for when asthma is not well controlled.

160818 Dr M Gow Symptomatic Patients V1.0 GH

In-depth questioning and the use of validated questionnaires

Dr Menzies-Gow explains that he uses open questioning techniques in his clinics to discover how patients are experiencing their asthma, but also stresses the value of using validated questionnaires, particularly the Asthma Control Test (ACT) and Juniper Asthma Control Questionnaire (ACQ), to assess symptom control.

As he says: “If I ask my patients, ‘how’s your asthma?’ frequently they will say: ‘it’s fine’, but that’s because their asthma has always been poorly controlled. But if I drill down and ask: ‘how often are you using your blue inhaler?’ they’ll tell me ‘several times a day’; ‘how often are you waking up at night?’, they’ll tell me ‘several times a week’… so I will always use a validated questionnaire.”