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Editorials |

Does Screening for COPD by Primary Care Physicians Have the Potential to Cause More Harm Than Good?

Paul Enright, MD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Tucson, AZ
 ,  Dr. Enright is Research Professor of Medicine and Public Health, University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Correspondence to: Paul Enright, MD, 4460 East Ina Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718; e-mail: LungGuy@aol.com



Chest. 2006;129(4):833-835. doi:10.1378/chest.129.4.833
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Extract

Congratulations to the investigators of the Spirometry in Asthma and COPD: a Comparative Evaluation (SPACE) program for carefully describing the excellent methods, but disappointing results, of their Italy-wide study to determine whether office spirometry performed by general practitioners (GPs) improves the diagnosis of asthma and COPD.1 Since 2003, similar projects have been generously funded in the United States. The SPACE program, which enrolled 570 GPs, with spirometry training provided by 57 pulmonary specialists, did not find a significant advantage of office spirometry in improving the diagnosis of asthma and COPD in the primary care setting. However, a type II error cannot be excluded, since the enrollment of participating patients reached only about half of the goal determined by a priori sample size calculations.

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