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COPD Foundation Study Suggests Alternative Approach for COPD Screening Method

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Stephanie Clark
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COPD Foundation Study Suggests Alternative Approach for COPD Screening Method

WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 12, 2012 – In response to a December 2011 study published in CHEST, the official publication of the American College of Chest Physicians, showing that chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) remains underdiagnosed and less than optimally managed by many primary care physicians, The COPD Foundation (COPDF) today announced the results of its study examining an alternative approach for screening for COPD. The study demonstrates that a three-stage approach — a questionnaire-based screening test, pocket spirometry assessment and diagnostic spirometry — is both feasible and useful, and avoids the need to conduct diagnostic-quality spirometry on all individuals at risk.

“This is a tremendously important study that could ultimately change the way we screen for COPD,” said Byron Thomashow, M.D., chair of the COPD Foundation Board of Directors. “More work needs to be done in terms of replicating results in clinical settings and fine-tuning the questionnaires. Our goal is to create an easier, less costly means for screening for COPD in order to eliminate barriers to consistent implementation of COPD guidelines.”

Study results suggest that a normal peak flow makes significant COPD (FEV1<60%) highly unlikely and essentially rules out severe COPD (FEV1<50%). In contrast, an abnormal peak flow is almost always associated with abnormal lung function, which could indicate COPD, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis, other lung conditions or neuromuscular disease. In general, an abnormal peak flow indicates abnormal lung function, with further evaluation required, including formal pulmonary function testing. John W. Walsh, president of the COPD Foundation, adds, “COPD is almost always preventable, mostly treatable and someday, curable. Promoting early diagnosis and making COPD easier to diagnose is critically important to winning the war against COPD.” About COPD Foundation
The mission of the COPD Foundation is to develop and support programs, which improve the quality of life through research, education, early diagnosis, and enhanced therapy for persons whose lives are impacted by Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. The C.O.P.D. Information Line, 866-316-COPD (2673), is a toll-free number for information and referrals on COPD, offering callers access to peer-to-peer patients and caregiver associates.
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