Goal 3: Advance Translational Research

Use of symptoms vs spirometry in increasing patient and provider adherence to guidelines

What is the comparative effectiveness of using symptoms vs. spirometry in increasing patient and provider adherence to COPD treatment guidelines and patient-reported outcomes (symptom frequency, activities of daily living, quality of life, sleep quality, exacerbations)?

Is this idea a Compelling Question (CQ) or Critical Challenge (CC)? Compelling Question (CQ)

Details on the impact of addressing this CQ or CC

COPD is underdiagnosed. The lack of recognition of COPD risk by physicians and patients themselves is well known, with many undiagnosed COPD patients presenting for the first time with late stage COPD. Currently used cut-points based on a fixed ratio of FEV1/FVC may overestimate the number of elderly patients with COPD, particularly with mild disease, because of changes in lung volumes with aging. It has been suggested that using a cut-point based on the normal distribution of FEV1/FVC values may decrease the misclassification rate. Other strategies have been proposed for risk assessment as adjuncts to diagnostic classification (e.g., Fragoso et al. J Am Geriatr Soc 2008, 56:1014-1020). Pertinent references: Guideline #1 in Qaseem et al., strong recommendation, moderate-quality evidence; GOLD, 2008 and the 2005 American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society Task Force Report, standards for the diagnosis and management of patients with COPD.
Although there are ample guidance to help providers identify and evaluate patients likely to have earlier stage COPD, few are referred to spirometric testing. Subsequent spirometry provides a good working yield of true positives, which is frequently superior to pre-test probabilities of other, more complex and expensive medical tests commonly ordered for other conditions (colonoscopy,lung cancer), why is it so much more difficult to provide spirometry? COPD will remain undertreated as long as it remains underdiagnosed.

Name of idea submitter and other team members who worked on this idea Helene Gussin, PhD



9 net votes
12 up votes
3 down votes
Idea No. 952