Most methods of assessing small airways dysfunction have been largely confined to research purposes

Chronic respiratory diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), represent a major social and economic burden. Increasing attention has been directed to the role of small airways in respiratory diseases. Small airways could play a distinct role in specific disease phenotypes. There are limited data on natural history of small airways disease. Most studies have been performed in small population samples, and different techniques to characterize small airways function have been employed. Most methods of assessing small airways dysfunction have been largely confined to research purposes. However, some data are encouraging, and support utilization of certain techniques into daily clinical practice, particularly for early-stage diseases, when subjects are often asymptomatic and routine pulmonary function tests may normal. Clinical trials and real-life feedback on large populations are highly desirable.

References:

The role of the small airways in the pathophysiology of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Bonini M, Usmani OS. Ther Adv Respir Dis. 2015 Jun 2. pii: 1753465815588064. [Epub ahead of print]
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26037949

As some of you know, I have been the Editor of the World Allergy Organization (WAO) Small Airways Working Group "What's New?" monthly summary since 2011. The summary features the top 3 asthma/small airways articles each month. The article above is part of the project. The archive is here: http://www.worldallergy.org/small_airways_group/reviews/archive.php

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