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Diagnostic decision aid helps identify those for COPD testing

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A simple decision aid can help clinicians identify patients likely to need spirometry testing for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to Dutch researchers.

They developed an eight-item decision aid - based on symptoms and signs, such as smoking history and wheeze - and tested it on 357 patients presenting with persistent cough.

The authors said the aid “improved the diagnostic risk classification of the patients” to such as extent that 35 fewer patients needed spirometry and eight fewer COPD cases were missed than would have been using clinician assessment alone.

They added: “These results suggest that implementation of diagnostic decision tools in the diagnostic pathway for COPD could enhance efficient use of spirometry.”

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