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ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

Mass Spirometry in Young People Proposed in UK

Published January 20, 2009 12:18 PM by Frank Visco
Mass spirometry for healthy patients in their mid-twenties has been proposed in the United Kingdom's draft clinical strategy for COPD, and is currently being considered by ministers, according to PulseToday.

The proposal is interesting, especially in light of the ongoing debate over whether or not spirometry should be used in adults without symptoms of COPD. The current recommendation is to test people over the age of 44 who are either symptomatic or have smoked over 10 years.

Those in favor of blanket testing argue that earlier detection would allow treatment prior to the symptomatic stage, and that cessation is more likely if smokers know about their airway obstruction.

However, last March the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force found that benefits of screening nonsymptomatic individuals was small and that the diagnosis did not have an impact on smoking cessation (or increased flu shots).

What do you think about mass spirometry screening? Should it occur, even among healthy, young patients? If not, what population do you think could benefit from it (if any)?

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