Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Patients with COPD may be missing out on appropriate treatment because of incorrect or no diagnosis


Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) are frequently misdiagnosed or remain undiagnosed, and may therefore be missing out on appropriate treatment, according to the results of a primary care study presented today at the annual European Respiratory Society (ERS) meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.1

COPD is a progressive respiratory disease that causes significant deterioration of lung function and chronic breathlessness that can lead to severe disability.2 Limited airflow associated with COPD leads to excess air being trapped in the lungs after a person has exhaled. This condition, known as "air trapping", is a primary cause of breathlessness, which often restricts a person’s ability to perform daily activities such as walking up stairs or taking a shower.3,4

Although COPD is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide, claiming 2.75 million lives annually,5 it is estimated that up to 75% of patients in Europe6 and 50% in the United States are undiagnosed.7 Results of the study presented today at the ERS congress showed that more than half of those affected with COPD may first be incorrectly diagnosed with asthma by their primary care physician.1

"The level of misdiagnosis and under diagnosis seen in this study is very concerning," said Professor David Price, Chair of Primary Care, Respiratory, University of Aberdeen, UK, and principal study investigator. "Although recent guidelines for COPD emphasise the importance of accurate diagnosis, this has been challenging in primary care. There has been varied evidence for COPD signs and symptoms, and insufficient tools to make an accurate diagnosis. As a result, patients are suffering unnecessarily because they’re not receiving appropriate treatment."

The study presented at ERS enrolled 597 patients recruited from primary care practices in the UK and US aged 40 years or older with prior diagnoses or medications consistent with obstructive lung disease, but not previously diagnosed with COPD.1 Patients were given a study diagnosis based on spirometry.

Approximately 40% of patients in the study were found to have COPD.1 Of these:

51.5% reported a prior diagnosis of asthma only1
10.6% reported no prior diagnosis of obstructive lung disease1
37.9% reported a prior diagnosis of COPD component diseases (chronic bronchitis or emphysema).1

Among those COPD sufferers originally misdiagnosed with asthma, or with no prior diagnosis of obstructive lung disease, only 3.5% were receiving anticholinergic treatments,1 which together with beta-agonists are central to the symptomatic management of COPD.8

"It’s time for primary care professionals to re-think their approach to COPD to ensure patients receive an early, correct diagnosis and appropriate, effective treatment. Early intervention with smoking cessation therapy may slow disease progression, and appropriate medical therapy may slow the deterioration in patient quality of life seen with COPD," Professor Price said.

Additional study results presented at ERS showed that diagnosis of COPD in ’at risk’ groups (smokers and ex-smokers over 40 years of age) could be vastly improved if patients were asked a few symptom-based diagnostic questions to assess their lung health.9 If these questions were used for screening purposes in a primary care practice setting, testing 1000 people at high risk would lead to 297 spirometric examinations and 110 new diagnoses of COPD.9

"This simple questionnaire promises to be a cost-effective means of improving diagnosis rates, and thus appropriate management of one of the most common, debilitating and costly conditions seen in primary care," Professor Price said.

Patrick Ward | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>