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Promise for COPD Diagnosis in Primary Care with New Screening


Researchers at National Jewish Health and colleagues across the country have partnered to develop a screening tool to help primary care physicians identify chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The tool, referred to as CAPTURE, was able to identify roughly half of primary care patients with COPD that could benefit from available treatments. The results of the study were published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Screening tools are commonly used in primary care settings to identify a number of medical conditions, but CAPTURE would be among the first with proven results to identify COPD. 

COPD is a disease that affects an estimated 5% of the population. Roughly half of the people living with COPD in the United States are undiagnosed, and many have severe disease when they are finally diagnosed. Undiagnosed patients experience poor health and a risk of acute respiratory events, hospitalization and mortality. Earlier diagnosis and treatment intervention can slow the progression of COPD and potentially prevent the disease.

“There are national guidelines on how often mammograms and other lifesaving screenings should be done, but there are no recommended tools for COPD screening. “The CAPTURE questionnaire will help physicians screen for COPD,” said Barry Make, MD, co-director of the COPD program at National Jewish Health and co-senior author of the study.

For the study, patients without prior COPD diagnosis were enrolled in primary care networks across the U.S. All patients were asked five questions. In patients with intermediate scores, peak flow was measured.  “We wanted to identify not just COPD, but clinically significant COPD,” said Dr. Make.

“This is a necessary step to help narrow the gap in the number of undiagnosed COPD patients,” continued Dr. Make. “Primary care is a key setting to establish this disease, as it represents patients with less severe disease and diverse and rural populations.”

According to Fernando Martinez, MD, chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and a co-lead in the study, “Our group has confirmed that a simple approach can identify patients with significant respiratory burden in primary care, particularly those with undiagnosed COPD for whom effective therapies are available. Moreover, it shows the robust nature of this collaborative relationship between numerous stakeholders, particularly primary care-based research networks.”

Dr. Martinez is a paid scientific advisory board member for AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Theravance/Viatris. Dr. Martinez is a paid consultant for Boehringer Ingelheim and Sanofi. Additionally, Dr. Martinez has a patent for CAPTURE licensed to Weill Cornell. For more information, see profile for Dr. Martinez.

National Jewish Health is the leading respiratory hospital in the nation. Founded 124 years ago as a nonprofit hospital, National Jewish Health today is the only facility in the world dedicated exclusively to groundbreaking medical research and treatment of children and adults with respiratory, cardiac, immune and related disorders. Patients and families come to National Jewish Health from around the world to receive cutting-edge, comprehensive, coordinated care. To learn more, visit the media resources page.

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