British guideline on the management of asthma in adults

The British Thoracic Society & Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network


  • In adults, initial diagnosis should be based on a careful assessment of symptoms and a measure of airflow obstruction
  • Spirometry is the preferred initial test to assess the presence and severity of airflow obstruction in adults, or PEF if spirometry not available
  • Clinical features that increase the probability of asthma:
    • more than one of the following symptoms: wheeze, breathlessness, chest tightness, and cough, particularly if symptoms are:
      • worse at night and in the early morning
      • in response to exercise, allergen exposure, and cold air
      • present after taking aspirin (or another NSAID) or beta blockers
    • history of atopic disorder
    • family history of asthma and/or atopic disorder
    • widespread wheeze heard on auscultation of the chest
    • otherwise unexplained low FEV1 or PEF (historical or serial readings)
    • otherwise unexplained peripheral blood eosinophilia

Register to view this page

Log in or register now for FREE in order to:

  • benefit from unlimited access to all pages, including:
    • 180+ guideline summaries
    • 1000+ evidence-based articles
  • review and leave comments on all articles and summaries
  • automatically track your reading and learning via your CPD tracker
  • on-demand webinars presented by leading clinical experts

Registration only takes 2 minutes and it will give you FREE access to all content across:



Log in

Need help? Email us