COPD insider

Why hasn’t
spirometry
caught on?

 

 

Spirometry is the only recognized method to definitively diagnose COPD. So why isn't it used more? Discover the consequences of not using spirometry and the benefits you can expect from making it your standard practice. 

The indispensable role of spirometry

 

Spirometry is currently the only recognized method of definitively diagnosing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).It also gives patients and physicians a reliable way of tracking the progression of the disease. But there’s a problem—spirometry is severely undervalued and underutilized.1 Let’s take a look at what’s causing low usage, the consequences, and how your team can create amazing value by making spirometry your diagnostic standard.

 

Awareness and training are low, which comes with a cost

 

According to Christine Cunningham, RRT, a big cause of low spirometry usage is low awareness. This can lead to limited knowledge about the benefits of spirometry and, more importantly, limited ability to manage COPD. Consider this cascade of negative results:

Low usage can directly work against your treatment goals1

Contributors

becky-anderson-headshot

Becky Anderson, RRT

Manager, Respiratory Care Services

Sanford Medical Center

 

christine-cunningham-headshot

Christine Cunningham, RRT

Director of Clinical Services
CHI Health at Home

 

brian-carlin-headshot

Brian Carlin, MD, FCCP, FAARC

Critical Care Staff Physician

Altoona Regional Health System

jill-ohar-headshot

Jill Ohar, MD, FCCP

Professor of Internal Medicine,

Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy, and Immunological Diseases

Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Director of Clinical Operations  

Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center

You see all the press and campaigns related to heart disease and pre-screening and early detection. Same with breast cancer. You don't have that level of awareness as it relates to properly diagnosing COPD — we don't talk about spirometry."

- Becky Anderson, RRT

Manager, Respiratory Care Services, Sanford Medical Center



of adults with low pulmonary function are not aware that they have COPD

Even when physicians are aware of spirometry, training on proper usage is commonly suboptimal or non-existent. According to Brian Carlin MD, FCCP, FAARC, this can lead to further avoidance due to low comfort.

Nearly 2/3 of patients with COPD have never had a spirometry test1

This lack of awareness and training may cause physicians to avoid spirometry and diagnose COPD strictly based on symptoms. This leads to further challenges:

  • Physicians can only evaluate symptoms that patients report3
  • Symptoms of COPD can be very similar to those of other chronic lung diseases4

Same symptoms, different diseases4

There is a paper coming out where we looked at symptoms, and shockingly, symptoms are just not useful in diagnosing COPD because people don’t complain about symptoms.”

- Jill Ohar, MD, FCCP
Professor of Internal Medicine
Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy, and
Immunological Diseases
Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Director of Clinical Operations
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
We wouldn’t diagnose hypertension without taking a blood pressure.”

- Becky Anderson, RRT

Manager, Respiratory Care Services, Sanford Medical Center

On the need for diagnosing COPD with spirometry

On the need for diagnosing COPD with spirometry

We investigated, ‘Why aren’t you doing this?’ They said, ‘Well, we don’t feel comfortable doing it.’”

- Brian Carlin, MD, FCCP, FAARC

Critical Care Staff Physician Altoona Regional Health System

Spreading the benefits of spirometry

One thing is for sure. With uncertain diagnoses, patients suffer reduced health and institutions are forced to absorb the immense cost of it. So with greater spirometry use comes better chances of proactively treating patients from the start.1

Get the word out!

Share this article with your colleagues to increase spirometry awareness, today!

A quick show of hands

Increased spirometry use in COPD is critical for patients and physicians alike. It allows patients to “know their numbers,” which may help them take ownership and manage their health.5 It can help physicians understand symptom severity with more confidence. This can help them predict what may cause exacerbations and adjust treatment plans accordingly.

One device, 3 measurements

Spirometry assesses 3 dimensions of lung function1

FEV1

Forced expiratory volume in 1 second

FVC1

Forced vitality capacity

Ratio of FEV1 to FVC

Numbers you can’t ignore


Spirometry sheds invaluable light on disease severity


Stages of COPD, according to Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second1,6

One device, 3 measurements Spirometry assesses 3 dimensions of lung function

FEV1

Forced expiratory volume in 1 second

FVC1

Forced vitality capacity

Ratio of FEV1 to FVC

Numbers you can’t ignore

Spirometry sheds invaluable light on disease severity

Stages of COPD, according to Forced Expiratory Volume in 1 second1,6

Widespread benefits of using spirometry1

Physicians


Supports better health for patients and institutions as a whole 

Patients


Supports better outcomes
for better quality of life

Institutions


Supports reduced costs associated with readmissions

Supporting better outcomes from the start1

Better possibilities are in your hands


Become a champion for routine spirometry among your care team and help create value for patients and your institution alike.

References: 1. Spirometry Touted as Best Way to Accurately Diagnose COPD. U.S. Medicine Web site.

http://www.usmedicine.com/agencies/department-of-defense-dod/spirometry-touted-as-best-way-to-accurately-diagnose-copd/ Accessed October 23, 2016. 2. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. https://www.cdc.gov/copd/index.html

Accessed November 14, 2016. 3. Chronic Obstructive Pumonary Disease (COPD): Screening. U.S. Prentive Services Task Force Web site. https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease-copd-screening Updated March 2008. Accessed December 5, 2016. 4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology Web site. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/related-conditions/chronic-obstructive-pulmonary-disease Accessed December 5, 2016. 5. Petty T, Enright P. Simple Office Spirometry for Primary Care Practitioners. National Lung Health Education Program. 1-42. http://www.nlhep.org/Documents/simple_office_spirometry.pdf 6. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Medscape Web site. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/297664-overview Accessed December 6, 2016.

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