Table of Contents
International Journal of Family Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 962901, 6 pages
Research Article

Early COPD Diagnosis in Family Medicine Practice: How to Implement Spirometry?

Respiratory Epidemiology and Clinical Research Unit (RECRU), Montreal Chest Institute, McGill University Health Centre, Montréal, QC, Canada H2X 2P4

Received 4 December 2013; Revised 6 February 2014; Accepted 8 February 2014; Published 3 April 2014

Academic Editor: Hagen Sandholzer

Copyright © 2014 Nathalie Saad et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction. COPD is often diagnosed at an advanced stage because symptoms go unrecognized. Furthermore, spirometry is often not done. Methods. Study was conducted in diverse family medicine practice settings. Patients were targeted if respiratory symptoms were present. Patients had a spirometry to confirm the presence of airflow obstruction and COPD diagnosis. An evaluation of the process was done to better understand facilitating/limiting factors to the implementation of a primary care based spirometry program. Results. 12 of 19 primary care offices participated. 196 of 246 (80%) patients targeted based on the presence of smoking and respiratory symptoms did not have COPD; 18 (7%) and 32 (13%) had COPD, respectively, GOLD I and ≥II. There was no difference in the type and number of respiratory symptoms between non-COPD and COPD patients. Most of the clinics did not have access to a trained healthcare professional to accomplish spirometry. They agreed that giving access to a trained healthcare professional was the easiest and most reliable way of doing spirometry. Conclusion. Spirometry, a simple test, is recommended in guidelines to make the diagnosis of COPD. The lack of allocated time and training of healthcare professionals makes its implementation challenging in family medicine practices.