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Task Force Recommends Against Screening for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using Spirometry
Date:3/3/2008

mounts of mucus, shortness of breath, wheezing and chest tightness, spirometry may be used to confirm a diagnosis of COPD. The Task Force found evidence that the diagnosis did not have an impact on the number of patients who quit smoking, nor could they find evidence that it increased the number of patients who received the flu vaccine. Quitting smoking is the single most important thing a patient can do to slow the progression of the disease, and there is some evidence that getting vaccinated against the flu can prevent worsening of COPD symptoms.

"Our review of the evidence found that screening for COPD with spirometry in patients who report no symptoms provides very little or no benefit to individuals, even in those who are eventually diagnosed with the disease," said Task Force Chair Ned Calonge, M.D., who is also Chief Medical Officer for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. "We encourage clinicians to focus on screening all adults for tobacco use and helping individuals who smoke to choose evidence-based therapies that can help them to quit."

The Task Force is the leading independent panel of experts in prevention and primary care. The Task Force, which is supported by AHRQ, conducts rigorous, impartial assessments of the scientific evidence for the effectiveness of a broad range of clinical preventive services, including screening, counseling, and preventive medications. Its recommendations are considered the gold standard for clinical preventive services. The Task Force recommends against screening adults for COPD using spirometry. (D recommendation)

The recommendations and materials for clinicians are available on the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstf/uspscopd.htm. Previous Task Force recommendations, summaries of the evidence, and related materials are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse by calling (800)
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SOURCE Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
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