Background: Even after publication of the 2011 update of GOLD report, some fundamental questions in the management of COPD are still open and this may weaken the applicability of these guidelines in everyday clinical practice.
Objective: To assess the level of consensus amongst Italian respirologists on different topics related to diagnosis, monitoring and role of bronchodilator therapy in COPD, by using the Delphi technique.
Methods: A Delphi study was undertaken between July and November 2011, when two questionnaires were consecutively sent to a panel of experts to be answered anonymously. After each round, the data were aggregated at group level of question topics and structured feedback was given to the panel.
Results: A first-round questionnaire was sent to 208 pulmonologists randomly selected from different Italian regions. The 132 respondents (63% of those initially selected) were from northern (53%), central (19%) and southern (28%) Italy. A second-round questionnaire was sent to all the first-round respondents, and a response was received from 110 of them (83%). The main topics that reached the pre-defined cut off for consensus (67% or more) were: a) bronchodilator therapy with long-acting bronchodilators could be beneficial in patients with airflow limitation even in the absence of symptoms, b) in patients not fully controlled with one long-acting bronchodilator, maximizing bronchodilation (i.e. adding another bronchodilator with a different mechanism of action) is the preferable option; and c) the use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) as add on therapy should be considered in severe patients with frequent exacerbations.
Conclusions: Italian specialists agree on several aspects of the diagnosis and treatment of COPD and expert opinion could support everyday decision process in the management of COPD.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.