Impact of diagnostic criteria on the prevalence of COPD

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Yunus Çolak, Anders Løkke, Jacob Louis Marott, Peter Lange, Jørgen Vestbo

INTRODUCTION: The reduction in the ratio between forced expiratory volume in 1¿s (FEV(1) ) and forced vital capacity (FVC) is used for the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The choice between a simple fixed cut-off ratio (FEV(1) /FVC <0.70) and the use of lower limit of normal (LLN) is eagerly discussed. The aim of this paper was to examine the impact of these two
diagnostic measures on the prevalence of COPD using data from the fourth examination of The Copenhagen City Heart Study (CCHS4).
MATERIALS AND METHODOLOGY: A total of 6237 subjects participated in CCHS4 from 2001 to 2003. Asymptomatic, healthy never-smokers of all ages with adequate information from questionnaires and spirometry were used to
calculate LLN.
RESULTS: LLN was declining with increasing age and height. If LLN was used as the correct diagnostic criterion, under- and over-diagnosis among men were 0.4% and 7.0%, respectively, and for women 2.0% and 1.4%, respectively, when using the fixed ratio. Over-diagnosis among men was reduced from 7.0% to 3.0% by changing the fixed cut-off ratio to FEV(1) /FVC <0.65 for subjects older
than 65 years. Among women, however, this adjustment led to an increase in under-diagnosis from 2.0% to 5.7%. Most participants with FEV(1) /FVC <0.70 but >LLN had well-preserved FEV(1) .
CONCLUSION:
Using the fixed ratio for diagnosing COPD in an epidemiological setting results in a higher prevalence than if the LLN is used. Time seems ripe for studying if the same is seen when diagnosing COPD in the clinical setting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Respiratory Journal
Volume7
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)297-303
ISSN1752-6981
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

ID: 44324751