Project 187 – Prevalence of asthma- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease overlap syndrome (ACOS) in north west Tasmanian population: understanding and translation to early therapy

24 Jan 2019

Dr Sukhwinder Sohal – $55,455


Asthma and COPD are typically characterised as separate diseases with different clinical features, mechanisms and strategies for treatment. However, some patients with respiratory illness appear to have features on both diseases and may exhibit, for example a history of asthma and smoking. Tasmania is the best place to start this work due to high rates of smoking, COPD and asthma. A respiratory lung function lab has been established in NW Tasmania for the identification of lung diseases and to aid research in the area.The project aims to identify the burden of ACOS in the North-West Tasmanian population and study the clinical care currently provided. The project will identify individuals with a history of asthma and smoking and work out how many fit within the ACOS sub group. Lung tissue samples and lung function tests will be collected from the identified population and analysed to further study the disease processes.

The expected outcomes of this study will be highly beneficial. For the first time we will demonstrate the prevalence of ACOS in this population. While Europe and America have started to provide prevalence rates, no or very little information is available from Australia. It is possible that the prevalence of ACOS is high in this state. It is likely that ACOS is consistently misdiagnosed and so sub-optimally managed as “only” asthma or COPD. There are still no set guidelines to diagnose/manage it, and no “drug-trials” have ever been done on this. Better management is likely to decrease the burden on individuals and the health system, and will inform clinical practice.