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Conflicting definitions of airways obstruction - Drawing the line between normal and abnormal

Chest (Impact Factor: 7.13). 03/2007; 131(2):335-6. DOI: 10.1378/chest.06-2736
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Using a fixed ratio of forced expiratory volume in 1 s to forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC) < 0.70 instead of the lower limit of normal (LLN) to define chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may lead to overdiagnosis of COPD in elderly patients with heart failure (HF) and consequently unnecessary treatment with possible adverse health effects. The aim of this study was to determine COPD prevalence in patients with chronic HF according to two definitions of airflow obstruction. Spirometry was performed in 187 outpatients with stable chronic HF without pulmonary congestion who had a left ventricular ejection fraction <40% (mean age 69 ± 10 years, 78% men). COPD diagnosis was confirmed 3 months after standard treatment with tiotropium in newly diagnosed COPD patients. COPD prevalence varied substantially between 19.8% (LLN-COPD) and 32.1% (GOLD-COPD). Twenty-three of 60 patients (38.3%) with GOLD-COPD were potentially misclassified as having COPD (FEV1/FVC < 0.7 but > LLN). In contrast to patients with LLN-COPD, potentially misclassified patients did not differ significantly from those without COPD regarding respiratory symptoms and risk factors for COPD. One fifth, rather than one third, of the patients with chronic HF had concomitant COPD using the LLN instead of the fixed ratio. LLN may identify clinically more important COPD than a fixed ratio of 0.7.
    Heart & lung: the journal of critical care 10/2013; 42(5):365-71. DOI:10.1016/j.hrtlng.2013.07.002 · 1.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is based on airflow obstruction. In epidemiological studies, spirometric data have often been lacking and researchers have had to rely almost solely on questionnaire answers. The aim of this study is to assess the diagnostic accuracy of questionnaire answers to detect COPD. A sample of the Swedish general population without physician-diagnosed asthma was randomly selected and interviewed using a respiratory questionnaire. All eligible subjects aged 25-75 years (n = 3892) performed spirometry for detection of airflow obstruction using Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) or American Thoracic Society (ATS)/European Respiratory Society (ERS) criteria. Sensitivity, specificity, positive likelihood ratio (LR+), positive predictive values (PPVs), and negative predictive values (NPVs) were calculated to define diagnostic accuracy of questionnaire answers. The sensitivity of the question "Have you been diagnosed by a physician as having COPD or emphysema?" in detecting airflow obstruction was 5.7% using GOLD, and 9.8% using ATS/ERS, criteria; specificity was 99.7% for GOLD and 99.5% for ATS/ERS. Sensitivity, specificity, and PPV were higher for the question compared to self-reported symptoms of chronic bronchitis in identifying subjects with airflow obstruction. The high specificity and good PPV suggest that the question "Have you been diagnosed by a physician as having COPD or emphysema?" is more likely to identify those who do not have airflow obstruction, whereas the low sensitivity of this question could underestimate the real burden of COPD in the general population.
    BMC Pulmonary Medicine 03/2014; 14(1):49. DOI:10.1186/1471-2466-14-49 · 2.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Objective To determine the prevalence of pulmonary function abnormalities in patients with chronic heart failure (HF) according to recent American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society (ATS/ERS) guidelines using the lower limit of normal (LLN) compared to conventional cutoff values. Background Recent ATS/ERS guidelines recommend the use of the LLN instead of the conventional cutoff values to define pulmonary function impairment to avoid misclassification of patients. However, studies addressing the prevalence of pulmonary function abnormalities according to both definitions in patients with chronic HF are lacking. Methods In this prospective cross-sectional study, 164 chronic HF outpatients (age 68 ± 10 years, 78% men, 88% New York Heart Association class I–II) with left ventricular ejection fraction < 40% underwent spirometry and measurement of diffusing capacity. Body plethysmography was performed in patients with abnormal spirometry results. Results Diffusion impairment and airway obstruction were found in 44–58% and 26–37% of the patients, respectively, depending on the definition used (LLN versus conventional cutoff values, p < 0.05). However, restriction was infrequent, irrespective of the definition used (7% versus 5%, respectively, p > 0.05). The LLN identified fewer patients with abnormal lung function, whereas the conventional cutoff values classified more patients with diffusion impairment, airway obstruction, or a mixed category. Twenty-seven percent of patients were misclassified by the conventional cutoff values. Conclusion Pulmonary function abnormalities, especially diffusion impairment and airway obstruction, were highly prevalent in patients with chronic HF. Conventional cutoff values classified more patients with diffusion impairment, airway obstruction, or a mixed category compared to the LLN.
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