Management of chronic airflow obstruction: differences in practice between respiratory and general physicians

Respir Med. 1994 Aug;88(7):493-7. doi: 10.1016/s0954-6111(05)80329-4.


An audit of inpatient care of diseases characterized by chronic airflow obstruction namely chronic bronchitis, emphysema and chronic obstructive airways disease (ICD Code Nos. 490-2 & 496) was performed and the practice of respiratory and general physicians compared. One hundred cases were sampled at random from 279 cases admitted to hospitals serving the West of Glasgow in 1988. Fifty cases were selected from those admitted under the care of respiratory physicians and 50 from those under general physicians; 89 were suitable for analysis. The main outcome measurements consisted of the use of routine respiratory investigations, comparison of the use of standard therapies during the admission and at discharge, length of stay, inpatient deaths, follow up and readmission rates. The groups were similar in age, smoking history, gender and there was no significant difference in admission arterial blood gas values. The pulse rate on admission was higher in the general group (102 beats per min) in comparison to the respiratory group (91 beats per min) (P < 0.004). A similar use of chest radiograph and arterial blood gas analysis was noted between the groups. Ninety-six per cent of respiratory patients had either spirometry or peak expiratory flow measured compared to 62% in the general group (P = 0.0001). No significant differences were noted in the use of antibiotics, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, oxygen or respiratory stimulants. The mean length of stay was similar. Two patients (4%) in the respiratory group compared with seven (18%) in the general group died during the admission (P = 0.01); there were no further early deaths at 1 month from discharge.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / diagnosis
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / drug therapy*
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Admission
  • Professional Practice*
  • Pulmonary Medicine*
  • Pulse
  • Respiratory Function Tests