Strategies for screening for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Respir Care. 2003 Dec;48(12):1194-201; discussion 1201-3.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is easily detected in its preclinical phase, using office spirometry. Successful smoking cessation prevents further disease progression in most patients. Spirometry measures the ratio of the forced expiratory volume in the first second to the forced vital capacity (FEV(1)/FVC), which is the most sensitive and specific test for detecting airflow limitation. Primary care practitioners see the majority of adult smokers, but few primary care practitioners currently have spirometers or regularly order spirometry for their smoker patients. Improvements in spirometry software have made it much easier to obtain good quality spirometry test sessions, thereby reducing the misclassification rate. Respiratory therapists and pulmonary function technologists can help primary care practitioners select good office spirometers for identifying chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and teach staff how to use spirometers correctly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / etiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / prevention & control
  • Reference Standards
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Spirometry / adverse effects
  • Spirometry / economics
  • Spirometry / methods
  • Spirometry / standards
  • Vital Capacity