Alison Chisholm

Respiratory Effectiveness Group, Arundel, England, United Kingdom

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Publications (32)103.43 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Patterns of health-care use and comorbidities present in patients in the period before diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are unknown. We investigated these factors to inform future case-finding strategies. We did a retrospective analysis of a clinical cohort in the UK with data from Jan 1, 1990 to Dec 31, 2009 (General Practice Research Database and Optimum Patient Care Research Database). We assessed patients aged 40 years or older who had an electronically coded diagnosis of COPD in their primary care records and had a minimum of 3 years of continuous practice data for COPD (2 years before diagnosis up to a maximum of 20 years, and 1 year after diagnosis) and at least two prescriptions for COPD since diagnosis. We identified missed opportunites to diagnose COPD from routinely collected patient data by reviewing patterns of health-care use and comorbidities present before diagnosis. We assessed patterns of health-care use in terms of lower respiratory consultations (infective and non-infective), lower respiratory consultations with a course of antibiotics or oral steroids, and chest radiography. If these events did not lead to a diagnosis of COPD, they were deemed to be missed opportunities. This study is registered with, number NCT01655667. We assessed data for 38 859 patients. Opportunities for diagnosis were missed in 32 900 (85%) of 38 859 patients in the 5 years immediately preceding diagnosis of COPD; in 12 856 (58%) of 22 286 in the 6-10 years before diagnosis, in 3943 (42%) of 9351 in the 11-15 years before diagnosis; and in 95 (8%) of 1167 in the 16-20 years before diagnosis. Between 1990 and 2009, we noted decreases in the age at diagnosis (0·05 years of age per year, 95% CI 0·03-0·07) and yearly frequency of lower respiratory prescribing consultations (rate ratio 0·982 opportunities per year, 95% CI 0·979-0·985). Prevalence of all comorbidities present at COPD diagnosis increased except for asthma and bronchiectasis, which decreased between 1990 and 2007, from 281 (33·4%) of 842 patients to 451 of 1465 (30·8%) for asthma, and from 53 of 842 (6·3%) to 53 of 1465 (3·6%) for bronchiectasis. In the 2 years before diagnosis, of 6897 patients who had had a chest radiography, only 2296 (33%) also had spirometry. Opportunities to diagnose COPD at an earlier stage are being missed, and could be improved by case-finding in patients with lower respiratory tract symptoms and concordant long-term comorbidities. UK Department of Health, Research in Real Life.
    The lancet. Respiratory medicine. 04/2014; 2(4):267-76.
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    ABSTRACT: Cigarette smoking among asthma patients is associated with worsening symptoms and accelerated decline in lung function. Smoking asthma is also characterized by increased levels of neutrophils and macrophages, and greater small airway remodeling, resulting in increased airflow obstruction and impaired response to corticosteroid therapy. As a result, smokers are typically excluded from asthma randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The strict inclusion/exclusion criteria used by asthma RCTs limits the extent to which their findings can be extrapolated to the routine care asthma population and to reflect the likely effectiveness of therapies in subgroups of particular clinical interest, such as smoking asthmatics. The inclusion of smokers in observational asthma studies and pragmatic trials in asthma provides a way of assessing the relative effectiveness of different treatment options for the management of this interesting clinical subgroup. Exploratory studies of possible treatment options for smoking asthma suggest potential utility in: prescribing higher-dose ICS; targeting the small airways of the lungs with extra-fine particle ICS formulations; targeting leukotreines, and possibly also combinations of these options. However, further studies are required. With the paucity of RCT data available, complementary streams of evidence (those from RCTs, pragmatic trials and observational studies) need to be combined to help guide judicious prescribing decisions in smokers with asthma.
    Allergy, asthma & immunology research 03/2014; 6(2):114-120. · 3.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Clinical practice guidelines are usually developed by a group of experts coming together to review the evidence in a field to make evidence-based recommendations on how to integrate new evidence into practice. The development process often draws on strict methodological rules to assess and assign quality grades to the evidence used to underpin the recommendations. Yet the goal of clinical practice guidelines-to help guide clinicians to understand, translate, and apply new evidence into everyday practice-can be thwarted by a lack of diversity and plurality of committee members, by limitations in the published evidence base, and by the design of the randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that largely underpin their pronouncements. Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) RCTs often represent only a minority (5 to 10%) of the routine care population in whom licensed interventions will be applied. Thus, the implications of extrapolating RCT efficacy (based on idealized patients and management settings) to real-life treatment effectiveness (achieved in broad patient populations being managed in routine care) is unclear. Although RCTs can adequately demonstrate efficacy of a specific treatment, pragmatic trials and postmarketing observational studies are usually required to evaluate the long-term safety of therapeutic interventions. The practical usefulness of clinical practice guidelines may be enhanced by ensuring representation of a broad stakeholder group within guideline committees (e.g., patients, primary and secondary care clinicians, policy makers, and health insurers) and by integrating effectiveness as well as efficacy data. Only in this way can clinical practice guidelines achieve their goal of guiding the meaningful implementation of new research into practice, for the benefit of all stakeholders.
    Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 02/2014; 11 Suppl 2:S85-91.
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    ABSTRACT: Observational studies and pragmatic trials can complement classical randomized controlled trials (RCTs) by providing data more relevant to the circumstances under which medicine is routinely practiced, thereby providing practical guidance for clinicians. The bearing of RCT findings on day-to-day practice can be weighted and the data more meaningfully interpreted by practicing clinicians if evidence is integrated from a variety of different study designs and methodologies. The advent of observational studies and pragmatic trials, often referred to as "real-life studies," has met with a degree of cynicism, but their role and value is gaining widespread recognition and support among clinicians. This article discusses where observational studies and pragmatic trials have utility, namely: in addressing clinical questions that are unanswered and/or unanswerable by RCTs; in testing new hypotheses and possible license extensions; and in helping to differentiate between available therapies for a given indication. Moreover, it seeks to highlight how the different approaches fit within a conceptual framework of evidence relevant to clinical practice, a step-change in the traditional view of medical evidence.
    Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 02/2014; 11 Suppl 2:S92-8.
  • Richard J Martin, Alison M Chisholm, David Price
    Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 02/2014; 11 Suppl 2:S83-4.
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    ABSTRACT: Real-world research can use observational or clinical trial designs, in both cases putting emphasis on high external validity, to complement the classical efficacy randomized controlled trials (RCTs) with high internal validity. Real-world research is made necessary by the variety of factors that can play an important a role in modulating effectiveness in real life but are often tightly controlled in RCTs, such as comorbidities and concomitant treatments, adherence, inhalation technique, access to care, strength of doctor-caregiver communication, and socio-economic and other organizational factors. Real-world studies belong to two main categories: pragmatic trials and observational studies, which can be prospective or retrospective. Focusing on comparative database observational studies, the process aimed at ensuring high-quality research can be divided into three parts: preparation of research, analyses and reporting, and discussion of results. Key points include a priori planning of data collection and analyses, identification of appropriate database(s), proper outcomes definition, study registration with commitment to publish, bias minimization through matching and adjustment processes accounting for potential confounders, and sensitivity analyses testing the robustness of results. When these conditions are met, observational database studies can reach a sufficient level of evidence to help create guidelines (i.e., clinical and regulatory decision-making).
    Annals of the American Thoracic Society. 02/2014; 11 Suppl 2:S99-S104.
  • The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 12/2013; 1(10):e29–e30.
  • American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 12/2013; 188(11):1368-9. · 11.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) is a surrogate marker of eosinophilic airway inflammation and good predictor of corticosteroid response.Aim: To evaluate how FeNO is being used to guide primary care asthma management in the United Kingdom (UK) with a view to devising practical algorithms for the use of FeNO in the diagnosis of steroid-responsive disease and to guide on-going asthma management. Eligible patients (n = 678) were those in the Optimum Patient Care Research Database (OPCRD) aged 4--80 years who, at an index date, had their first FeNO assessment via NIOX MINO(R) or Flex(R). Eligible practices were those using FeNO measurement in at least ten patients during the study period. Patients were characterized over a one-year baseline period immediately before the index date. Outcomes were evaluated in the year immediately following index date for two patient cohorts: (i) those in whom FeNO measurement was being used to identify steroid-responsive disease and (ii) those in whom FeNO monitoring was being used to guide on-going asthma management. Outcomes for cohort (i) were incidence of new ICS initiation at, or within the one-month following, their first FeNO measurement, and ICS dose during the outcome year. Outcomes for cohort (ii) were adherence, change in adherence (from baseline) and ICS dose.Outcomes: In cohort (i) (n = 304) the higher the FeNO category, the higher the percentage of patients that initiated ICS at, or in the one month immediately following, their first FeNO measurement: 82%, 46% and 26% of patients with high, intermediate and low FeNO, respectively. In cohort (ii) (n = 374) high FeNO levels were associated with poorer baseline adherence (p = 0.005) but greater improvement in adherence in the outcome year (p = 0.017). Across both cohorts, patients with high FeNO levels were associated with significantly higher ICS dosing (p < 0.001). In the UK, FeNO is being used in primary practice to guide ICS initiation and dosing decisions and to identify poor ICS adherence. Simple algorithms to guide clinicians in the practical use of FeNO could improved diagnostic accuracy and better tailored asthma regimens.
    Clinical and translational allergy. 11/2013; 3(1):37.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Beclometasone dipropionate is an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) available in both extrafine and larger-particle hydrofluoroalkane formulations. Extrafine beclometasone has greater small airway distribution and inhalation technique tolerance than larger-particle beclometasone; therefore, its use may be associated with improved asthma outcomes at population levels. The study objective was to compare real-life effectiveness of extrafine and larger-particle beclometasone. METHODS: Retrospective matched cohort study including primary care patients with asthma (ages 12-60 and non-smokers 61-80 years) prescribed extrafine or larger-particle beclometasone by metered-dose inhaler. We studied patients receiving their first ICS (initiation population, n = 11,289) or switched from another ICS without dose change (switch population, n = 19,065). The extrafine and larger-particle beclometasone cohorts were matched in each population for demographic and database measures of asthma control during a baseline year; and endpoints assessed during 1 outcome year were adjusted for residual confounding factors. RESULTS: The odds of no loss of asthma control (no asthma-related hospital attendance, consultation for lower respiratory tract infection, or oral corticosteroids) were significantly higher in the extrafine beclometasone cohorts of both initiation population (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.12; 95% CI 1.02-1.23) and switch population (aOR 1.10; 95% CI 1.01-1.19). The odds of better adherence to ICS therapy were also significantly higher in both extrafine beclometasone cohorts (initiation population, aOR 1.64; 95% CI 1.52-1.75 and switch population, aOR 1.35; 95% CI 1.27-1.43). CONCLUSIONS: These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that delivery of beclometasone in extrafine particle size produces real-life asthma treatment benefits. Clinical trials no. NCT01400217.
    Respiratory medicine 05/2013; · 2.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Characteristics of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) differ, but data comparing the real-life effectiveness of various ICSs for asthma are lacking. OBJECTIVE: We sought to compare real-life asthma outcomes and costs of extrafine hydrofluoroalkane (HFA)-beclomethasone and fluticasone administered through a pressurized metered-dose inhaler. METHODS: This retrospective matched cohort study examined database markers of asthma control from a large US longitudinal health care claims database over 1 baseline and 1 outcome year for 10,312 patients with asthma aged 12 to 80 years receiving their first ICS as HFA-beclomethasone or fluticasone and matched on baseline demographic characteristics and asthma severity. RESULTS: Patients started on HFA-beclomethasone had significantly higher odds (adjusted odds ratio, 1.19; 95% CI; 1.08-1.31) of achieving overall control (risk and impairment), which was defined as no hospital attendance for asthma, oral corticosteroids, or antibiotics for lower respiratory tract infection and less than 2 puffs per day of short-acting β-agonist; they also experienced a lower rate of respiratory-related hospitalizations or referrals (adjusted rate ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.73-0.93) than patients started on fluticasone. Other database outcome measures were similar in the 2 cohorts. Prescribed HFA-beclomethasone doses were lower (P < .001) than fluticasone doses (median, 320 μg/d [interquartile range, 160-320 μg/d] vs 440 μg/d [interquartile range, 176-440 μg/d]). Adjusted respiratory-related health care costs were significantly lower for HFA-beclomethasone than fluticasone (mean, $1869 [95% CI, $1727-$2032] vs $2259 [95% CI, $2111-$2404]), representing a mean annual savings of $390 (95% CI, $165-$620) per patient prescribed HFA-beclomethasone rather than fluticasone. CONCLUSIONS: Asthma treatment outcomes were similar or better with HFA-beclomethasone prescribed at significantly lower doses and with lower costs than fluticasone.
    The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology 04/2013; · 12.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Patient preference is an important factor when choosing an inhaler device for asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). AIMS: To identify characteristics of patients with asthma or COPD who prefer a once-daily controller medication regimen. METHODS: This retrospective observational study used electronic patient records and linked outcomes from patient-completed questionnaires in a primary care database. We compared the characteristics of patients indicating a preference for once-daily therapy with those who were unsure or indicating no preference. RESULTS: Of 3,731 patients with asthma, 2,174 (58%) were women; the mean age was 46 years (range 2-94). Of 2,138 patients with COPD, 980 (46%) were women; the mean age was 70 years (range 35-98). Approximately half of the patients in each cohort indicated once-daily preference, one-quarter were unsure, and one-quarter did not prefer once-daily therapy. In patients with asthma or COPD, the preference for once-daily controller medication was significantly associated with poor adherence and higher concerns about medication. In asthma, good control and low self-perceived controller medication need were associated with once-daily preference. By contrast, in COPD, a high self-perceived need for controller medication was associated with once-daily preference. There was no significant relationship between once-daily preference and age, sex, disease severity, or exacerbation history. CONCLUSIONS: Understanding patient preferences may help prescribers to individualise therapy better for asthma and COPD.
    Primary care respiratory journal: journal of the General Practice Airways Group 03/2013; · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Correct use of inhaler devices is fundamental to effective asthma management but represents an important challenge for patients. The correct inhalation manoeuvre differs markedly for different inhaler types. The objective of this study was to compare outcomes for patients prescribed the same inhaler device versus mixed device types for asthma controller and reliever therapy. This retrospective observational study identified patients with asthma (ages 4-80 years) in a large primary care database who were prescribed an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS) for the first time. We compared outcomes for patients prescribed the same breath-actuated inhaler (BAI) for ICS controller and salbutamol reliever versus mixed devices (BAI for controller and pressurised metered-dose inhaler [pMDI] for reliever). The 2-year study included 1 baseline year before the ICS prescription (to identify and correct for confounding factors) and 1 outcome year. Endpoints were asthma control (defined as no hospital attendance for asthma, oral corticosteroids, or antibiotics for lower respiratory tract infection) and severe exacerbations (hospitalisation or oral corticosteroids for asthma). Patients prescribed the same device (n=3,428) were significantly more likely to achieve asthma control (adjusted odds ratio, 1.15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.02-1.28) and recorded significantly lower severe exacerbation rates (adjusted rate ratio, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.68-0.93) than those prescribed mixed devices (n=5,452). These findings suggest that, when possible, the same device should be prescribed for both ICS and reliever therapy when patients are initiating ICS.
    Allergy, asthma & immunology research 07/2012; 4(4):184-91. · 3.08 Impact Factor
  • American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference, May 18-23, 2012 • San Francisco, California; 05/2012
  • American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference, May 18-23, 2012 • San Francisco, California; 05/2012
  • American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference, May 18-23, 2012 • San Francisco, California; 05/2012
  • American Thoracic Society 2012 International Conference, May 18-23, 2012 • San Francisco, California; 05/2012
  • M Thomas, D B Price, A Chisholm
    European Respiratory Journal 04/2012; 39(4):1050. · 7.13 Impact Factor
  • Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 02/2012; 129(2):AB368. · 11.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Classical randomized controlled trials are the gold standard in medical evidence because of their high internal validity. However, their necessarily strict design can limit their external validity and the ability to extrapolate these data to real world patients. Therefore, alternatively designed studies may play a complementary role in evaluating the comparative effectiveness of therapies in nonidealized patients in more naturalistic, real world settings. Observational studies have high external validity and can evaluate real world outcomes. Their strength lies in hypothesis generation and testing and in identifying areas in which further clinical trials may be required. Pragmatic trials are designed to maximize applicability of trial results to usual care settings by relying on clinically important outcomes and enrolling a wide range of participants. A combination of these approaches is preferable and necessary.
    Current Allergy and Asthma Reports 09/2011; 11(6):526-38. · 2.75 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

129 Citations
103.43 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Respiratory Effectiveness Group
      Arundel, England, United Kingdom
    • George Washington University
      Washington, Washington, D.C., United States
  • 2011
    • University of Aberdeen
      • Academic Primary Care
      Aberdeen, SCT, United Kingdom