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Large Community Spirometry Screening Proves Successful

Large scale, community spiromety screening for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), can be successfully performed in non-traditional settings, according to a new study. The research, presented at CHEST 2006 // , the 72nd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), also demonstrates that community spirometry screenings can identify a large proportion of subjects with significant impairment.

In a year-long study, co-authors Bob Cohen, MD, FCCP, John H. Stroger, Jr. Cook County Hospital and Diana Hackbarth, RN, PhD, Loyola University Chicago, and their colleagues performed a public health study in the broad, six-county Chicago metropolitan area. In partnership with the American Lung Association of Metropolitan Chicago and the American Lung Association of Illinois, researchers examined the impact of large-scale spirometry screening.

“We began screening subjects in June 2005 and continued through March of 2006,” said Dr. Cohen, “ and we were able to perform interpretable spirometry tests on subjects tested in a rather busy community setting.”

The study used modern spirometers and software to perform large scale, community, spirometry screenings for COPD. Subjects were recruited at a national pharmacy chain for a free lung test, and a total of 2,964 subjects sought free spirometry. Of these subjects, 2,920 agreed to participate in an on-the-spot health survey, and 2,250 agreed to participate in the follow-up study. Sixty percent of those who underwent free spirometry were former or current smokers.

Fourteen percent of the 2,027 subjects who had interpretable spirometry had significant COPD impairment, and 3 percent had severe or very severe impairment. In addition, 64 percent of these impaired patients reported being unaware of a previous diagnosis of COPD or asthma. In the related long-term study, researchers examined the impact of both spirometry screening and active
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