Statement: Asthma diagnosis by smartphone is ‘exciting development’

Thursday 6 June 2019

 Asthma diagnosis by smartphone is ‘exciting development’ says asthma charity

A study published today in the Respiratory Research journal, has found that a smartphone app that analyses cough sounds could help diagnose childhood asthma. Responding to the research, Dr Samantha Walker, Director of Research and Policy at Asthma UK, said: 

“Asthma is very difficult to diagnose in children, particularly those under five, as the tools available for doctors to use are crude so this smartphone app is potentially an exciting development. 

“Around one in five children have to wait three or more years for an asthma diagnosis*, which places a huge emotional and practical toll on parents as many see their children in and out of hospital, fighting for life.

“While this new tool shows how technology in healthcare has the potential to transform the lives of children with asthma, more research is needed to make sure that these findings are reliable as possible and can be used in routine care practice.

"Diagnosing and treating children with asthma as quickly as possible could keep them out of hospital and given them a better quality of life. 

For further information, please contact:

Rebecca Lewis, Media Officer, Asthma UK

Landline: 0207 786 4981

OOO: 07951 721 393

Notes to Editor:

In the UK, 5.4 million people are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12). 


*Asthma UK conducted a survey of 10,064 people with asthma across the UK published in The reality of asthma care in the UK: Annual Asthma Survey 2018. 778 survey respondents were parents of children with asthma, and of those, 151 (19%) said their child had waited 3 or more years for their child to be diagnosed with asthma. 

About Asthma UK

  • Every day, the lives of three families are devastated by the death of a loved one to an asthma attack, and tragically two thirds of these deaths are preventable.
  • Asthma UK’s mission is to stop asthma attacks and cure asthma. We do this by funding world leading research, campaigning for improved care and supporting people to reduce their risk of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
  • For more information about asthma please visit