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Editorials |

Spirometry for COPD Is Both Underutilized and Overutilized

Paul Enright, MD; Philip Quanjer, MD
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Tucson, AZ,  Rotterdam, the Netherlands

Correspondence to: Paul Enright, MD, Research Professor of Medicine, College of Public Health, The University of Arizona, 4460 East Ina Rd, Tucson, AZ; 85718; e-mail: lungguy@aol.com



Chest. 2007;132(2):368-370. doi:10.1378/chest.07-0994
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An excellent study from the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) in this issue of CHEST (see page 403)1 confirms that when a diagnosis of COPD is made in both primary care and subspecialty settings in the United States, spirometry is performed for only one third of the cases. When spirometry was done—either before or after the initial diagnosis of COPD—it included postbronchodilator (post-BD) spirometry less than half of the time. These rates demonstrate that we as pulmonary specialists have a lot of work ahead of us to educate our colleagues (primary care providers as well as specialists) about the necessity to perform an objective test to confirm this common disease and stage its severity. As Doctor Tom Petty has said many, many times in the past 3 decades, “Nobody would ever think of treating hypertension without measuring BP.”

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