To understand hospital admissions due to asthma flare ups, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic


Asthma is a common chronic lung disease associated with cough and wheeze, caused by excessive lung inflammation and allergy. Asthma patients are vulnerable to viral infections, leading to flare-up of symptoms such as cough and breathlessness.  These flare up of symptoms are called exacerbations. Viral lung infections are the most common cause of exacerbations and hospital admission in this patient group.

Patients with the severest form of COVID-19 develop lung complications and lung failure and those with pre-existing chronic diseases are most at risk of poor outcomes.

There was significant concern among Respiratory healthcare professionals and patients, that COVID-19 would have devastating effects for those with asthma. Many asthma patients report shielding throughout the pandemic and there is anecdotal evidence that people missed hospital appointments and avoided coming to hospital, even when they were unwell. However, there is little objective information to assess the impact of COVID-19 on asthma hospital admissions and hospital care.


This project will look at routinely collected health data of patients admitted before (2019) and during the COVID-19 pandemic to determine:

This project will help determine whether asthma care pathways need to change while the vaccine programme is being rolled out.

Patient involvement

A number of asthma patients from the asthma clinic have agreed to work with the researchers to help with this project, including producing accessible information and discussing results.


This project was supported unanimously by the PIONEER Data Trust Committee.

Principal investigator

Mohammed Almeshari, University of Birmingham; Dr Ben Sutton, University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

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