USPSTF Recommends Against Routine Screening for COPD — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
August 18, 2015

USPSTF Recommends Against Routine Screening for COPD

By Kristin J. Kelley

Edited by David G. Fairchild, MD, MPH, and Jaye Elizabeth Hefner, MD

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is again recommending against screening asymptomatic adults for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The grade D draft statement, which echoes the USPSTF's 2008 recommendation, does not apply to patients with a family history of alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency or to those who are at risk and have symptoms such as chronic cough or wheezing.

Using data from a systematic review, the task force concluded that there's no evidence that screening with spirometry or questionnaires provides a net benefit in terms of patient outcomes. Moreover, screening is time-consuming.

The task force notes that more long-term data are needed on both screening former and current smokers and treating screen-detected patients.

Asked to comment, Patricia Kritek, a pulmonologist with NEJM Journal Watch General Medicine, said, "While the recommendation makes sense particularly with respect to using spirometry for screening, I would still wonder whether there is value in a prescreening questionnaire. The potential value seems to be for the 'current smoker' group, in whom concern for early COPD may help motivate smoking cessation."

Reader Comments (2)

James Nelson Physician, Neurology, Pinehurst, NC

Need more attention to COPD with All of patients with this condition. In my private practice I will test ALL patients for this.

Elaine Gackle MN FNP BC-AANP Other Healthcare Professional, Family Medicine/General Practice

84 y.o. He Asthma past smoker 1-2PPD x 30 years early morning cough last 2 years c/o cough SOB dizziness memory lapse for 2days seen by orthopedic surgeon for spinal stenosis orders back X-rays sees COPD asks are you on oxygen?

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