Several instruments have been developed for measuring asthma control, but there is still a need to provide a structure for primary care asthma reviews.
The Active Life with Asthma (ALMA) tool was developed with the aim of structuring patient visits and assessing asthma treatment in primary care. The ability of ALMA to map out the care of asthma patients was evaluated and validated.
ALMA was developed with patient and clinical expert input. Questions were generated in focus groups and the resulting tool was subsequently validated by factor analysis in 1779 patients (1116 females) of mean age 51 years (range 18-89) in primary care.
The ALMA tool includes 19 questions, 14 of which belong to a subset assessing asthma control. In this subset, factor analysis revealed three domains (factors): physical, psychological, and environmental triggers. Correlation with the Asthma Control Questionnaire was 0.72 and the Cronbach's alpha was 0.88. The test-retest reliability was 0.93. Of the 1779 patients tested with ALMA in primary care, 62% reported chest tightness, 30% nightly awakenings and 45% asthma breakthrough despite medication.
The ALMA tool is useful as a follow-up instrument in clinical practice to structure patient visits and assess asthma treatment in primary care. The breadth of the questions and the pragmatic use in clinical practice also make it useful as an outcome measure.
2012. Vol. 21, no 2, 139-144 p.