The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended against primary care screening for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in adults who are not symptoms indicative of the disease, according to a draft recommendation statement.
The new recommendations is in agreement with the Task Force’s 2008 screening recommendations concerning COPD.
COPD is a type of obstructive lung disease characterized by chronically poor airflow that becomes progressively worse over time. Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath and sputum production.
William Phillips, who is a Task Force member, explained in a press release:“The Task Force found that there is no evidence that screening for COPD in adults without symptoms results in improved health outcomes. The most important step you can take to prevent COPD is to avoid smoking.”
In the creation of this new recommendation, the USPSTF took into account clinical evidence revealing that COPD screenings before symptom development had no effect on physicians making the decisions for appropriate treatment, nor did it impact morbidity or even mortality.
There are no risks related to screening all adults, but the costs that might result from screening asymptomatic individuals could be substantial.
The USPSTF did not find any proof that screening for COPD in patients that are asymptomatic through questionnaires or spirometry actually improves their health outcomes. There is no data to support the idea that COPD screening before the advancement of symptoms affects treatment decisions, changes the course of the disease, or improves patient outcomes.
The USPSTF’s COPD recommendations are supported by the American College of Physicians and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.
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