Thunderstorm asthma epidemic-a systematic review of the general practice perspective Academic Article uri icon


  • Thunderstorm asthma (TA) epidemics have been recognized globally as a rare phenomenon, producing a rapid surge of acute asthma presentations leading to an increased demand on emergency medical services and healthcare resources. General practitioners (GPs) are well placed in the community to contribute to healthcare during TA epidemics and similar disaster events. The aim of this review was to synthesize current evidence of the experiences of GPs during TA epidemics and similar surge events. A comprehensive systematic search of eleven electronic databases, including ancestry searching for peer-reviewed studies and grey literature published in English was conducted. Quantitative and qualitative study designs were included, and a quality assessment conducted. Of the 125 records identified, 16 were included for synthesis. During TA epidemics and surge events, GPs experience an increased demand for services, yet it is not known if general practice clinics experience resource limitations from this patient surge. While GPs express a willingness to help, few structures are in place to liaise, support and provide information to GPs during surge events. Following most surge/disaster events, no GP data is collected so it is not known how to improve coordination and communication between general practice services and emergency services. GPs have well-functioning adaptive management systems, and resources of space, supplies and staff thus the ability to increase surge capacity of their clinics.

publication date

  • 2020