SYDNEY: Asthma Australia welcomes new research that has used asthma monitoring and tailored treatment to help pregnant women manage their asthma and reduce their babies’ asthma risk.

Asthma affects 1 in 9 Australians and still kills more than 400 people a year.

There are 37,000 annual hospitalisations due to asthma and children 0-14 are the most likely to be hospitalised for asthma.

Researchers found that close monitoring of lung inflammation measured through regular breath tests, and adjustment in preventer medicine according to these results, led to optimal asthma control in expectant mothers.

This approach reduced the rate of asthma flare-ups in pregnancy by half and cut asthma rates in children by almost 50 per cent.

Asthma Australia provides a number of asthma research grants including the Mickie Hardie award, which was granted to researcher Matthew Morten one of the study’s authors.

Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman said; “We are delighted with the findings of the research and are eagerly anticipating the results from the next phase. We are excited to see how this new knowledge may influence clinical practice both in Australia and worldwide. Asthma can be a devastating disease and this research has game changing potential for millions of people.”

Research was conducted by a team from the Hunter Medical Research Institute and the University of Newcastle (UON), in collaboration with the University of Queensland and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, and researchers will now conduct a trial with more women.

The Breathing for Life Trial is the next phase involving a larger cohort and recruitment is underway for participants in Newcastle, Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra.

“If we can demonstrate that this approach works in a larger cohort we ultimately hope that this strategy will be incorporated into clinical practice,” Dr Vanessa Murphy from University of Newcastle explained. “It’s a portable machine that takes 90 seconds to get a result and it would be very easy to implement in primary care.”

Women who would like to participate in the Breathing for Life Trial must have doctor diagnosed asthma, be 18 years of age or older and at 12-22 weeks’ gestation.

For more information about the study email breathingforlifetrial@gmail.com