Australian Centre for Airways Disease Monitoring

Our Research

Our research

The National Breathlessness Surveys – 2019 and 2020/21

ACAM conducted national surveys of adults randomly selected from an existing large web-based survey panel which provide a unique data source to estimate how many Australian adults have breathlessness and to understand the burden of this breathlessness in terms of symptoms experienced, quality of life and healthcare use. We surveyed 10,072 adults in 2019 and 10,024 adults in 2020/21. These large, nationally representative population samples of patient-reported data provide a rich source of information about health problems and includes people with respiratory symptoms who do not access the health care system at all, or who do not discuss these symptoms with their doctor. Topics covered include: 

  • Prevalence of diagnosed lung and heart conditions (including asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis, ILD, lung cancer, heart failure, heart arrhythmia) and other comorbidities. 
  • Frequency and impact on quality of life of chronic respiratory symptoms (in adults with or without a self-reported doctor diagnosis of lung or heart disease). 
  • Prevalence and severity of breathlessness. 
  • Occupational exposures and other risk factors for lung disease. 
  • Medication use in people with chronic respiratory disease. 
  • COVID-19 behaviour changes, vaccination willingness (2020 only). 

The surveys reveal that breathlessness is common among Australian adults, and is associated with a substantial burden of ill-health, even among those without a diagnosed lung or heart condition. 

Severe Asthma Survey – another web-based data source

ACAM also conducted a separate, web-based survey in early 2021 to identify Australian adults with difficult-to-treat or severe asthma. The aims of this survey were to estimate the prevalence of difficult-to-treat and severe asthma in the Australian population with current asthma, explore medication use in this sub-population, quantify mental health issues experienced by people with difficult-to-treat or severe asthma and explore any mental health support received. 

The timing of this survey also presented the opportunity to investigate the impact of COVID-19 in this population.  

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