COPD is a highly prevalent disease and ranks 4th among main causes of death in Poland. To control the disease national program of early detection and prevention of COPD was proposed. Program, under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, was implemented by the National TB and Lung Diseases Research Institute in Warsaw and run in out-patient chest clinics all over the country. Smokers aged more than 40 years were proposed a free spirometry and antismoking advice. During three years 91,859 subjects were screened, mean age 53.2 +/- 11.5 years, 57.9% males. There were 61.6% of current smokers, 26.7% of former smokers and 9.7% of never smokers. Spirometric measurements were: in 71.8% normal, in 19.9% showed airflow limitation, and in 8.3 % showed restrictive pattern. Severity of airflow limitation was mild in 7.7%, moderate in 6.7% and severe in 5.6% of all investigated subjects. In smokers older then 40 years and a history of more than 10 pack-years AL was diagnosed in 22,75%. Airflow limitation was found in 14.5% of never smokers.
In summary: Program resulted in a very high (20%) diagnosis of airflow limitation. Subjects screened were not aware of their disease. Even subjects who presented with severe form of airflow limitation were not diagnosed earlier.