Risk of over-diagnosis of COPD in asymptomatic elderly never-smokers

J. A. Hardie, A. S. Buist, W. M. Vollmer, I. Ellingsen, P. S. Bakke, O. Mørkve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

364 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) has defined stage 1 chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as forced expiratory volume in one second/forced vital capacity (FEV1/FVC)% <70% and a FEV1% predicted of >80%. Stage 2 has been defined as FEV1/FVC <70% and a FEV1% pred of <80%. The authors examined the extent of COPD misdiagnosis using this definition in healthy, never-smoker, asymptomatic adults aged >70 yrs in Bergen, Norway. A respiratory questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of 2,871 persons aged >70 yrs. In a random, well-defined subgroup of 208 never-smoker respondents with no current respiratory disease and significant dyspnoea or heart disease/hypertension complicated with dyspnoea, 71 were able to perform an acceptable spirometry. Approximately 35% of these healthy, elderly never-smokers had an FEV1/FVC% of <70% and would be classified as having at least a stage 1 COPD. This percentage increased with age and in those aged >80 yrs ∼50% would be classified as having COPD and approximately one-third would have an FEV1 of <80% pred (stage 2 COPD). The estimated 5th percentile of FEV1 was consistently <80% pred. The Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease criteria will probably lead to a significant degree of over-diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in those aged >70 yrs. The criteria used to define the various stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease need to be age-specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1117-1122
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Spirometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

Cite this

Hardie, J. A., Buist, A. S., Vollmer, W. M., Ellingsen, I., Bakke, P. S., & Mørkve, O. (2002). Risk of over-diagnosis of COPD in asymptomatic elderly never-smokers. European Respiratory Journal, 20(5), 1117-1122. https://doi.org/10.1183/09031936.02.00023202