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Study finds COPD is over-diagnosed among uninsured patients
Date:5/22/2013

ATS 2013, PHILADELPHIA ─More than 40 percent of patients being treated for COPD at a federally funded clinic did not have the disease, researchers found after evaluating the patients with spirometry, the diagnostic "gold standard" for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

"While there have been many studies of the under-diagnosis of COPD, there has not been a U.S.-based study that has quantified the problem of over-diagnosis," said Christian Ghattas, MD., MSc, a second-year medical resident at Saint Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, Ohio, who will present the research at ATS 2013. "And yet, the cost of treating someone for COPD is high."

A survey published in 2003 in Respiratory Medicine found the average cost of treating a patient with COPD in the United States was $4,119 per year.

Dr. Ghattas and Magdi H. Awad, Pharm.D, assistant professor of pharmacy at Northeast Ohio Medical University conducted their descriptive, retrospective study at Axess Pointe, a federally qualified health center in Akron, Ohio. FQHCs receive federal grants to support care for communities that have large numbers of uninsured and Medicaid patients.

Between February 2011 to June 2012, researchers evaluated 80 patients had been given either a diagnosis of COPD or had been prescribed an anticholinergic inhaler, a therapy used to treat COPD symptoms, usually by a primary health care providers.

Among those who received the diagnosis were three patients under the age of 35 and five patients who had never smokedmembers of demographic groups unlikely to have COPD.

Despite the Global Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) recommendation that no COPD diagnosis be made without spirometry, only 17.5 percent of patients had been given the test.

As part of this study, all 80 patients underwent spirometry performed by trained professionals following American Thoracic Society recommendations. Results showed that 42.5 percent of patients ha
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Contact: Nathaniel Dunford
ndunford@thoracic.org
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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