Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. There is no cure for asthma but in most sufferers, available treatments keep their symptoms under control. However, around 17 per cent of people with asthma suffer from either difficult-to-treat or severe asthma.

Difficult-to-treat asthma

People with difficult-to-treat asthma may have difficulty breathing, which normal asthma treatments are not able to control. They may also have very severe asthma attacks.

Severe asthma

People with severe asthma find that their asthma cannot be treated with normal asthma treatments and that other causes and triggers for their asthma, such as smoking and other long-term conditions, have been ruled out.

Many of the patients who are referred to our asthma clinic have symptoms that have been severe or difficult to explain or control (refractory).

Therefore, we sometimes ask patients to stay with us for a few days to carry out a detailed assessment to try and understand exactly what is causing their symptoms, and how best to treat them.

Admission to the hospital

During your time in hospital you will stay on Lind ward, which is in the Fulham Road wing of Royal Brompton Hospital. 

What you should bring

During your stay you can wear your normal everyday clothes. You will need to bring:

  • loose, lightweight clothes
  • comfortable shoes eg trainers, in case you need to have an exercise test
  • toiletries (the hospital provides towels)
  • nightwear (pyjamas/nightdress, slippers, dressing gown)
  • all your current medication in its original containers and, if possible, an up-to-date list of your prescription medication
  • books, magazines, laptops, mobile phone and chargers, if necessary.    

Wifi internet is provided free of charge.

Please note that you are responsible for the safekeeping of your possessions and the hospital can’t accept liability for the loss or damage of any items during your admission.

Is there any medication I should avoid taking before my admission?

Please try and avoid taking the medications listed below because they can affect the test results or make them difficult to understand: 

  • inhalers – please do not use on the day of admission unless absolutely necessary (see below), for example:
    • Symbicort
    • Seretide
    • Flutiform
    • Fostair
    • Qvar       
    • Oxis
    • Relvar
    • Spiriva
  • theophylline tablets – please do not take on the evening before your admission or the morning of your admission, for example:   
    • Phyllocontin
    • Uniphyllin
    • Slophyllin
  • antihistamines – please do not take for three days before admission, for example:
    • oloratidine (Clarityn)
    • odesloratidine (Neoclarityn)
    • ofexofenadine (Telfast)
    • ochlorphenaramine (Piriton). 

If you find it difficult to manage without your inhaler, please only use your bronchodilator (Ventolin, salbutamol, Bricanyl). When you arrive for your tests, please tell us if you have used it and at what time.

You can continue to take all your other medication as usual and it is important that you keep taking prednisolone (steroid tablets), if it is a regular medication for you.

Tests

You will have a number of different tests during your stay at the hospital. We look at any previous tests that you have had at other hospitals and only repeat them if necessary. You may have some of the tests featured on the 'Tests' tab, but not everyone will need to have all of them.

When will I get my test results?

Your test results and any changes to your treatment will be explained to you by one of the doctors before you go home. After you go home you may need some extra tests. If they are needed we will discuss this with you. 

Who will I see during my stay?

Asthma specialist nurse

You will see the asthma specialist nurse, who will have a detailed discussion with you about your symptoms and about your 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 most patients will see a nose specialist during their assessment.

Physiotherapy review

All patients see a physiotherapist. Physiotherapists 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 we feel that your upper airways (throat) may be contributing to your symptoms, you may see the speech and language therapist who specialises in voice and throat symptoms.

Psychology review

Patients have the opportunity to speak to our psychologist during their admission. It is important to address the psychological wellbeing of anyone who has chronic respiratory symptoms.

At the end of your stay

At the end of your stay, the consultant will create a management plan for your asthma and will arrange any necessary follow-up appointments.

You will normally be followed up as an outpatient, although a further inpatient stay can be arranged if necessary. 

Skin prick testing

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

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. 

DEXA scan/bone densitometry scan

A DEXA scan is a special type of X-ray that measures bone mineral density and is more effective than normal X-rays in identifying low bone mineral density. 

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. 

Physiotherapy

We offer a comprehensive physiotherapy service, covering outpatient, inpatient and community services for children and adults. 

Bronchial thermoplasty

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

Meet the team

Consultants

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

Physiotherapists

Lizzie Grillo
Sarah Todd
Sarah Akers

Speech and language therapist

Dr Julia Selby

Learn more about the asthma and allergy team.

Contact

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 
Email: k.fairclough@rbht.nhs.uk


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