Screening for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using Spirometry: Summary of the Evidence for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
1 April 2008 | Volume 148 Issue 7 | Pages 535-543
Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. Fewer than half of the estimated 24 million Americans with airflow obstruction have received a COPD diagnosis, and diagnosis often occurs in advanced stages of the disease.
Purpose: To summarize the evidence on screening for COPD using spirometry for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
Data Sources: English-language articles identified in PubMed and the Cochrane Library through January 2007, recent systematic reviews, expert suggestions, and reference lists of retrievedarticles.
Study Selection: Explicit inclusion and exclusion criteria were used for each of the 8 key questions on benefits and harms of screening. Eligible study types varied by question.
Data Extraction: Studies were reviewed, abstracted, and rated for quality by using predefined USPSTF criteria.
Data Synthesis: Pharmacologic treatments for COPD reduce acute exacerbations in patients with severe disease. However, severe COPD is uncommon in the general U.S. population. Spirometryhas not been shown to independently increase smoking cessation rates. Potential harms from screening include false-positive results and adverse effects from subsequent unnecessary therapy.Data on the prevalence of airflow obstruction in the U.S. population were used to calculate projected outcomes from screening groups defined by age and smoking status.
Limitation: No studies provide direct evidence on health outcomes associated with screening for COPD.
Conclusion: Screening for COPD using spirometry is likely to identify a predominance of patients with mild to moderate airflowobstruction who would not experience additional health benefits if labeled as having COPD. Hundreds of patients would need toundergo spirometry to defer a single exacerbation.
Author and Article Information
From the Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, Maryland; Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Washington, D.C.; University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland; and Brooks Air Force Base, Brooks City-Base, Texas.
Acknowledgment: The authors thank Timothy Wilt, MD, MPH, and co-investigators at the Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center, for generously sharing data that were not yet published when this review was written. They also thank Caryn McManus and Gloria Washington at the AHRQ for technical assistance with the literature searches and compilation of data.
Potential Financial Conflicts of Interest: None disclosed.
Requests for Single Reprints: Kenneth Lin, MD, Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850; e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Current Author Addresses: Drs. Lin and Barton: Center for Primary Care, Prevention, and Clinical Partnerships, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850.
Dr. Watkins: Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 50 Irving St NW, Washington, DC 20422.
Dr. Johnson: University of Maryland School of Medicine, 655 West Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.
Dr. Rodriguez: Brooks Air Force Base, Brooks City-Base, TX 78235.
Related articles in Annals:
- Clinical Guidelines
Screening for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using Spirometry: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement
U.S. Preventive Services Task Force
- Annals 2008 148: 529-534. [ABSTRACT][SUMMARY][Full Text]
- Summaries for Patients
Screening for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Recommendations
- Annals 2008 148: I-46. [Full Text]