Screening for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement

JAMA. 2016 Apr 5;315(13):1372-7. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.2638.


Importance: About 14% of US adults aged 40 to 79 years have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and it is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Persons with severe COPD are often unable to participate in normal physical activity due to deterioration of lung function.

Objective: To update the 2008 US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendation on screening for COPD in asymptomatic adults.

Evidence review: The USPSTF reviewed the evidence on whether screening for COPD in asymptomatic adults (those who do not recognize or report respiratory symptoms) improves health outcomes. The USPSTF reviewed the diagnostic accuracy of screening tools (including prescreening questionnaires and spirometry); whether screening for COPD improves the delivery and uptake of targeted preventive services, such as smoking cessation or relevant immunizations; and the possible harms of screening for and treatment of mild to moderate COPD.

Findings: Similar to 2008, the USPSTF did not find evidence that screening for COPD in asymptomatic persons improves health-related quality of life, morbidity, or mortality. The USPSTF determined that early detection of COPD, before the development of symptoms, does not alter the course of the disease or improve patient outcomes. The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that screening for COPD in asymptomatic persons has no net benefit.

Conclusions and recommendation: The USPSTF recommends against screening for COPD in asymptomatic adults. (D recommendation).

Publication types

  • Guideline
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advisory Committees*
  • Aged
  • Asymptomatic Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / epidemiology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / prevention & control
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Assessment
  • Smoking Cessation
  • Spirometry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology