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Survey points to GPs' difficulty differentiating between asthma and COPD

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GPs have difficulty differentiating between asthma and COPD, according to a survey

The survey of 776 GPs, conducted by doctors.net.uk, identified that 80% find differentiating between the asthma and COPD quite or very challenging.

Twenty-four per cent were trained to carry out spirometry testing and 1 in 10 do not have appropriately trained staff to carry out or interpret spirometry testing.

Twenty-six per cent do not have the training to interpret spirometry testing.

BLF calls for restesting

TheBritish Lung Foundation has called for mass retesting of everyone over 35 with asthma or COPD because of confusion among GPs over the diagnosis and treatment of these conditions.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Working in Mental Health as an RGN with a remit for Resuscitation, I am very concerned by the generic use os COPD. Most staff see this written in the notes and immediately belive that these patients should not be given oxygen or only given small amounts. The rational on questioning this course of action is that if they give too much oxygen the patient will stop breathing. As COPD has become a generic term for respiratory conditions this concerns me as we know that an asthmatic is going to need oxygen if they have an attack and there is the potential that they may not recieve it because the term COPD has been noted in the pates notes. I always tell my staff to ask the medical staff if the the patient has a hypoxic drive issue if they see COPD in the notes. I almost feel that we need a more precise term for hypoxic drive patients such as "Hypoxic Drive Syndrome - HDS". or am I over-reacting?

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  • Staff are right to be cautious , patient safety with oxygen adminstration should be taken very seriously. Even paramedics can but co2 retainers on to much high flow , if its not known or its an emergency. This highlights the importance of a correct diagnosis and the need for specialist oxygen services in all trusts.
    I work as a community C.O.P.D Nurse.

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