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Just 36% of COPD patients have had spirometry

By Lilian Anekwe

Only a third of primary care patients with COPD have had spirometry, according to an analysis of the General Practice Research Database.

NICE guidelines for the diagnosis and follow-up of COPD recommended the use of spirometry to measure and confirm the presence of airflow obstruction.

Researchers identified all newly diagnosed patients with COPD in the database between 2004 and 2007, and recorded the proportion who had spirometry measurements taken between three before and twelve months after diagnosis of COPD.

Of the 19,000 patients with newly diagnosed COPD identified in the database 36% had recorded spirometric confirmation of COPD. Of these 16% had an additional FEV1 measurement in the 24 months prior to diagnoss, with 91% of these having an FEV1 <80% of predicted.

Professor David Price, an author of the study and a GP in Norwich, concluded: ‘Despite the recommendations from NICE for the management of COPD, we observed low recording of actual spirometric values to support confirmation of newly diagnosed COPD.'

Am J Respir Crit Care 181;2010:A4122

Only a third of primary care patients with COPD have had spirometry Only a third of primary care patients with COPD have had spirometry

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