New York—Screening for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in people who do not have symptoms suggestive of the disease is not recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), according to a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The panel, led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine researchers, rated the recommendation a “D,” indicating that there is moderate or high certainty that screening has no net benefit or that the harms might outweigh the benefits. In updating its 2008 recommendation, the USPSTF reviewed the diagnostic accuracy of screening tools, including prescreening questionnaires and spirometry; whether screening for COPD improves the delivery and uptake of targeted preventive services, such as smoking cessation or relevant immunizations; and the possible harms of screening for and treatment of mild-to-moderate COPD. The bottom line: Even though screening was not found to be harmful, it also does not alter the course of the disease or improve patient outcomes, according to the USPSTF.

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