The American College of Physicians (ACP) today released a new clinical practice guideline on diagnosing and treating stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a slowly progressive lung disease involving the airways and lung tissue, resulting in a gradual loss of lung function, typically as a result of smoking.
COPD affects more than 5 percent of the adult population in the United States and is the fourth leading cause of death and twelfth leading cause of illness. The symptoms of COPD range from chronic cough and wheezing to more severe symptoms such as shortness of breath and significant activity limitation.
The term COPD includes both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Physicians often use the broader term COPD, since affected patients frequently have components of both processes.
The guideline offers six recommendations, including:
"The evidence does not support using spirometry as a diagnostic strategy for individuals not reporting respiratory symptoms," said Steven Weinberger, MD, FACP, Senior Vice President, Medical Education and Publishing at ACP, and an author of the guideline. "However, adding spirometry to clinical examinations for individuals with respiratory symptoms, especially shortness of breath, has demonstrated benefits."
The guideline is based on a systematic evidence review of published studies by Timothy J. Wilt, MD, MPH, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-sponsored Minnesota Evidence-based Practice Center evidence report.
"It is important that all individuals with COPD stop smoking to prevent progression of the disease," Dr. Weinberger said. "Of course, even smokers without COPD should stop smoking to decrease the risk of both COPD and lung cancer. It's never too late to stop."
The target audience for the guideline is all physicians and the target patient population is all adults with COPD.
The following will be published in the in the Nov. 6, 2007, edition of Annals of Internal Medicine and will be available to the public at http://www.annals.org:
Reference: Diagnosis and Management of Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians, Management of Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Systematic Review for a Clinical Practice Guideline is published in the Nov. 6, 2007, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.
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