16 March 2021

COPD is often misdiagnosed due to inadequate history taking and misunderstanding of how to perform and interpret tests such as spirometry. 

A careful history that points to a diagnosis of COPD should be supported by objective evidence of irreversible airflow obstruction and exclusion of other possible causes for symptoms. 

Whilst spirometry has been paused due to the pandemic, this session will look at what can be done instead to support a possible COPD diagnosis.

Another important aspect of diagnosis is to identify the impact of COPD on patients’ physical and psychological health in order to plan appropriate management strategies.

COPD has varying impacts on individuals that correlate poorly with lung function.  The COPD review is an opportunity to explore the patient’s experience of how COPD affects their life in order to plan appropriate management strategies and educate patients and their families or carers about how to lead a healthy life with COPD.

Because in many cases COPD both results from, and negatively influences patients’ lifestyles and quality of life, a patient-focused review should explore symptom management and also seek to identify any co-morbidities and consequences of COPD that can be addressed in order to improve symptoms.