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Limited (information only) patient education programs for adults with asthma

  • Review
  • Intervention




A key component of many asthma management guidelines is the recommendation for patient education and regular medical review. A number of controlled trials have been conducted to measure the effectiveness of asthma education programmes. These programmes improve patient knowledge, but their impact on health outcomes is less well established. At its simplest level, education is limited to the transfer of information about asthma, its causes and its treatment. This review focused on the effects of limited asthma education.


The objective of this review was to assess the effects of limited (i.e. information only) asthma education on health outcomes in adults with asthma.

Search methods

We searched the Cochrane Airways Group trials register and reference lists of articles.

Selection criteria

Randomised and controlled trials of individual asthma education involving information transfer only in adults over 16 years of age.

Data collection and analysis

Trial quality was assessed and two reviewers extracted data independently. Study authors were contacted for missing information.

Main results

Twelve trials were included. They were of variable quality. Limited asthma education did not reduce hospitalisation for asthma (weighted mean difference -0.03 average hospitalisations per person per year, 95% confidence interval -0.09 to 0.03). There was no significant effect on doctor visits, lung function and medication use. The effects on asthma symptoms were variable. There was no reduction in days lost from normal activity, but in two studies, perceived asthma symptoms did improve after limited asthma education (odds ratio 0.44, 95% confidence interval 0.26 to 0.74). In one study, limited asthma education was associated with reduced emergency department visits (reduction of -2.76 average visits per person per year, 95% confidence interval -4.34 to 1.18).

Authors' conclusions

Use of limited asthma education as it has been practiced does not appear to improve health outcomes in adults with asthma although perceived symptoms may improve. Provision of information in the emergency department may be effective, but this needs to be confirmed.








我們搜尋了the Cochrane Airways Group trials register及文獻的參考書目。






此次審查共納入12個試驗。其品質參差不齊。有限度的氣喘教育並沒有降低入院治療氣喘的比率(加權平均差−0.03每人每年平均住院天數,95%信賴區間 −0.09到0.03)。對於就醫,肺功能和藥物的使用並沒有顯著的影響。對於氣喘症狀的影響則很多樣性。正常活動的天數沒有減少。但在兩項研究中,認為有限度的氣喘教育並沒有改善氣喘症狀,(odds ratio 0.44,95%信賴區間 0.26至0.74)。在一項研究中,有限度的氣喘教育與減少急診的比率有關(每人每年平均減少2.76次的急診次數,95%信賴區間 −4.34到1.18)。





此翻譯計畫由臺灣國家衛生研究院(National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan)統籌。



Plain language summary

Limited (information only) patient education programs for adults with asthma

Using a systematic approach, the medical literature was searched thoroughly to find reliable studies that looked at the effects of improving patients' knowledge about asthma, but which did not attempt to improve practical self-management skills. The results of the studies were combined to see if patient education designed to improve patient knowledge about their condition made a difference to their asthma. Improving patient knowledge alone does not seem to reduce hospitalisations, doctor visits or medication use for asthma, but may play a role in improving patients perceptions of their symptoms. However, education programmes designed to improve knowledge alone may reduce Emergency Room visits in high-risk adults.