Screening for COPD Under Consideration

United States Preventive Services Task Force states screening for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease not be performed without symptoms of the disease.

Screening for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) should not be performed on patients who lack signs and symptoms of the disease.

The recommendation came from the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), indicating moderate to high certainty that screenings have no health benefits and that the harm could outweigh the benefits.

COPD affects 14% of adults between the ages of 40- to 79-years-old in the United States.

For the report, published in JAMA, the USPSTF reviewed evidence to determine if screening for COPD in asymptomatic adults improved health outcomes.

Screening tools, including prescreening questionnaires and spirometry, were reviewed for diagnostic accuracy. Additionally, to determine if the screenings improved the delivery and uptake of targeted preventive services like smoking cessation or relevant immunizations.

Experts also explored the potential harm that screenings could cause in asymptomatic patients.

The USPSTF report concluded that evidence was inadequate and that using questionnaires or spirometry to screen asymptomatic individuals for COPD did not improve health outcomes or mortality.

In regards to the harm screening could cause, inadequate evidence was found and the time and effort required for screening is not trivial, the study concluded.