Asthma overview

Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. There is no cure for asthma but in most sufferers, available treatments can keep their symptoms under control.

But around 17 per cent of people with asthma suffer from either difficult-to-treat or severe asthma.

Difficult-to-treat asthma

This type of asthma means your asthma symptoms may not be controlled despite daily high dose inhaled steroid treatments. 

Severe asthma

If you have this type of asthma, you may find that high dose asthma treatments don't work for you. You have also had other causes and triggers such as smoking and other long-term conditions ruled out.

At our asthma clinic, many patients have severe asthma, which leads to symptoms that are difficult to explain or control.

We provide patients with a detailed assessment to help us understand what the reason(s) for someone’s symptoms are and how best to treat them.

Find out more about what happens when you come in for assessment. 

Skin prick testing

Skin prick testing is a universal allergy test and often used to find out what is causing an allergy. 

Histamine challenge (provocation) test

A histamine challenge (provocation) test is a breathing test that helps us to understand how your lungs work. It also helps us to understand whether your symptoms are due to asthma. ...

Echocardiogram (echo) for asthma

An echocardiogram looks at the structure and function of your heart, and helps doctors to see if your symptoms are partly caused by your heart, or if there are any side effects from your ...

CT scan for asthma

This is a scan of your lungs and chest. It gives us more detail than a chest X-ray. The pictures can help understand more about what might be causing your symptoms.

Sleep study for asthma

This test is an overnight sleep study, which provides information about how much your oxygen levels vary while you are asleep. 

Bone densitometry (DEXA) scan

This scan is an X-ray examination, which allows us to take a series of images of the bones in a patient’s body. We use this scan to measure the density of your bones, which shows us how s...

Blood tests for asthma

During our investigation about your asthma, we may have to do some blood tests to see how well your immune system is working and if your medications are being absorbed properly. 

Lung function tests

We have a number of tests that we use to look at lung function, and how your lungs are functioning in aspects of your breathing and exercise. 

Bronchial thermoplasty

Bronchial thermoplasty is a new way of treating severe and persistent asthma without the need for drugs.

Who you will see

Asthma specialist nurse

They will go through your symptoms with you in details and talk to you about treatment.

Ear, nose and throat (ENT) review

People often have some inflammation in their nose without noticing any symptoms. Treating this inflammation can help improve asthma symptoms, so you may see a nose specialist during your assessment.

Physiotherapy review

All patients see a physiotherapist. They can help with a variety of problems, including:

  • breathlessness
  • issues with physical activity and exercise
  • difficulty with clearance of sputum (mucus, phlegm).

Speech and language therapist

If your upper airways (throat) is contributing to your symptoms, we may get a speech and language therapist to see you. They specialise in voice and throat symptoms.

Psychology review

If you need to, you can speak to our psychologist during your stay. Addressing your psychological wellbeing if you have chronic respiratory symptoms is important.

At the end of your stay

When you are ready to leave, your consultant will create a management plan for your asthma. They will also arrange any follow-up appointments you need.

Your follow-up is normally as an outpatient, but another inpatient stay can be arranged if you need it.

Meet the team


Professor Andrew Menzies-Gow
Professor Paul Cullinan
Dr James Hull
Dr Alexandra Nanzer-Kelly
Dr Jo Szram
Dr Johanna Feary 

Specialist nurses

Rachel Stead
Donna Ell
Rachael Graham

Clinical psychology service

Dr Anne-Marie Doyle
Dr Jo Ashcroft


Lizzie Grillo
Sarah Todd
Sarah Akers

Speech and language therapist

Dr Julia Selby

Learn more about the asthma and allergy team.


If you have any other questions or if you need to change or cancel the admission, please contact:  

Kelly Fairclough 
Bed coordinator 
Telephone: 020 7351 8092 (direct line) 
Switchboard: 020 7352 8121, and ask for bleep 7703