Simple screening tool helps determine COPD risk
A simple 7-item screening tool can help clinicians identify patients at risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), even if they are not experiencing any symptoms.
The effectiveness and accuracy of the new screening tool was assessed in a clinical trial conducted across four Latin American countries as part of the Prevalence Study and Regular Practice, Diagnosis and Treatment (PUMA). As reported in Respirology, in at-risk patients visiting primary care clinics for any reason, COPD prevalence was as high as 20.1%. The risk was especially high for those >50 years of age, those who smoked heavily, and those with labored breathing.
The tool used the following predictive factors: gender, age, pack-years smoking, breathlessness, sputum, cough, and data of previous spirometry (a test that measures how much air a person exhales). These variables are assessed in everyday practice and documented in medical records, making the proposed PUMA score accurate and simple to use as a screening tool to select patients for spirometry in a primary care setting.