Severe Asthma Course
Online-Only

In response to the expressed need from the respiratory healthcare community in Canada for a comprehensive educator program and greater understanding of the diagnosis and management of Severe Asthma (SA), RESPTREC® created this online SA course to join the suite of courses offered by RESPTREC®.

The RESPTREC® Severe Asthma course is designed to give respiratory educators who encounter patients with severe asthma, the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to help patients and their families learn about severe asthma.

Curriculum includes:

  • Introduction to Severe Asthma
  • Diagnosis and Evaluation of Severe Asthma
  • Management of Severe Asthma (subdivided as follows):
    • Comprehensive Approach
    • Asthma Control
    • Pharmacotherapy Treatment
    • Inhaled Delivery Devices
    • Non-pharmacotherapy Treatment
    • Monitoring and Follow-up
    • Clinical Trials

Chapter: Introduction to Severe Asthma

  1. Define severe asthma
    1. Explain the key features in the definition of severe asthma
    2. Differentiate between uncontrolled asthma and severe asthma
  2. Explain the pathophysiology of severe asthma
    1. Explain the inflammatory response and the pattern of inflammation in severe asthma
    2. Define phenotyping in severe asthma
    3. Describe the different phenotypes of severe asthma including:
      1. allergic
      2. non-allergic
      3. late-onset
      4. asthma with fixed airway limitation
      5. asthma with obesity
    4. Explain the role of biomarkers in severe asthma
  3. Examine the epidemiology of severe asthma
    1. Identify the prevalence of severe asthma worldwide and in Canada
    2. Explain the burden of severe asthma in terms of:
      1. Economic
      2. Social (impact on quality of life)

Chapter: Diagnosis and Evaluation of Severe Asthma

  1. Explain how a diagnosis of severe asthma is made
    1. Explain the Canadian Thoracic Society approach to the diagnosis of severe asthma
    2. Describe the criteria for a diagnosis of severe asthma
    3. Discuss the investigations used for the diagnosis of severe asthma
    4. Describe conditions which mimic severe asthma-like symptoms
  2. Describe the risk factors that influence the development of severe asthma
    1. Discuss the role of allergy in severe asthma
  3. Describe comorbidities that can co-exist in severe asthma
    1. Discuss the pulmonary comorbidities that can occur in association with, or as a result of severe asthma
    2. Discuss the non-pulmonary comorbidities that can co-exist in severe asthma

Chapter: Management of Severe Asthma

  1. Discuss the comprehensive approach to the management of severe asthma
    1. Explain the components of the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS) severe asthma management continuum for children (6 years and over), adolescents and adults
    2. Describe the parameters to assess asthma control
  2. Discuss the approved pharmacological treatments for severe asthma
    1. Explain the goal of pharmacotherapy in the management of asthma
    2. Explain the current recommendations for therapy for each of the following classes of medication in the management of asthma and severe asthma including:
      1. Inhaled short-acting β2 agonist (SABA)
      2. Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS)
      3. Combination inhaled corticosteroid and inhaled long-acting β2 agonist (ICS/LABA)
      4. Long-acting β2 agonists (LABA)
      5. Long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) - tiotropium
      6. Leukotriene receptor agonists (LTRA)
      7. Oral corticosteroids (OCS)
      8. Phosphodiesterase inhibitor (PDE inhibitor)
      9. Macrolides (long-term)
      10. Biologic therapy:
        1. Anti-immunoglobulin E (Anti-IgE) agent
        2. Anti-interleukin 5 (Anti-IL5) agents
  3. Describe inhaled delivery devices used in severe asthma
    1. Explain the impact of proper and improper inhaled delivery device technique
    2. Explain selection considerations when recommending an inhaled delivery device
    3. Explain proper technique and care instructions for inhaled delivery devices used in severe asthma:
      1. Diskus
      2. Ellipta
      3. Metered-dose inhaler (MDI)
        1. Without valved holding chamber
        2. With valved holding chamber
      4. Respimat
      5. Turbuhaler
      6. Twisthaler
      7. Nebulizer
    4. Explain the direct instruction model (DIM) for skill-based teaching
    5. Explore appropriate teaching resources for medications and delivery devices for healthcare professionals and patients with severe asthma
  4. Describe the non-pharmacological considerations for severe asthma
    1. Explain the role of environmental control, education, and a written action plan in severe asthma
    2. Explain the role of bronchial thermoplasty in the management of severe asthma
  5. Discuss the importance of monitoring and follow-up for people with severe asthma
    1. Explain the goal and importance of monitoring and follow-up for patients with severe asthma in terms of:
      1. Monitoring treatment
      2. Monitoring for worsening of symptoms
      3. Monitoring education and self-management needs
    2. Explore services and resources that are available to support education and self-management for patients with severe asthma
  6. Discuss the clinical trials currently available in Canada for severe asthma
    1. Explain the role and importance of clinical trials in severe asthma
    2. Explain how patients with severe asthma can become involved in clinical trials in Canada

Registrants must meet the following entrance criteria:

  • hold a degree/diploma in a recognized health care profession
  • Although not a prerequisite, students are strongly encouraged to have completed the RESPTREC® Asthma Course (or equivalent) prior to taking the Severe Asthma course.

A wide range of representatives from health disciplines and endorsing agencies were involved in curriculum development including: the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS), Canadian Respiratory Health Professionals (CRHP), The Lung Association, clinicians, researchers, certified respiratory educators, respiratory therapy, nursing and physical therapy.

Severe Asthma Course Expert Committee

  • Dr. Andréanne Coté, MD FRCPC
    • Representing the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS)
  • Dr. Connie Yang, MD MSc FRCPC
    • Representing the Canadian Thoracic Society (CTS)
  • Elizabeth French, RRT CRE FCSRT
    • Representing the Canadian Respiratory Health Professionals (CRHP)
  • Jennifer Salahub, RN CRE
  • Jo Anne St. Vincent, RN CAE
  • Sara Han, RRT CRE
  • Sarah Sokoluk, RN CRE
  • Trent Litzenberger, BScPT BSPE CRE

RESPTREC® gratefully acknowledges GlaxoSmithKline for providing financial support for the development of the Severe Asthma course through an independent medical education grant.

RESPTREC® would also like to acknowledge financial support from Jan Neumann and Paul Cairns for the development of this course.

The hours invested in completing this course can be included in your continuing professional education learning portfolio. There are currently no accredited study credits allocated to this course.

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