Factors such as seeking medical attention for respiratory symptoms and health professionals ordering spirometry come into play in the underdiagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The objective of this study was to analyze seeking medical attention and the use of spirometry in individuals with chronic respiratory symptoms and to compare these results with those obtained in the 2005 and 2011 surveys. Material and Methods: A cross-sectional, observational, epidemiological study was conducted via phone interview in December 2020 in Spain, with a representative sample from 17 autonomous communities. The study design was identical to that of the studies carried out in 2005 and 2011 to evaluate the changes that have occurred in seeking medical attention and performing spirometry in Spain, as well as the variability between autonomous communities. Results: From 89,601 phone contacts, a total of 6534 respondents were obtained. A total of 24.8% reported having some chronic respiratory symptom, and 17.9% reported a respiratory disease. Only 51.6% of those who had some chronic respiratory symptom had seen their doctor, which was less likely among current smokers (OR: 0.599, 95% CI: 0.467–0.769, p < 0.001) and those living in a rural setting (OR: 0.797, 95% CI: 0.651–0.975, p = 0.027). A total of 68.7% of the individuals who saw a doctor reported having undergone spirometry, most frequently males (OR: 1.535, 95% CI: 2.074–1.136, p < 0.005), former smokers (OR: 1.696, 95% CI: 2.407–1.195, p < 0.003), and those seen by a pulmonologist (OR: 6.151, 95% CI: 8.869–4.265, p < 0.001). With respect to the 2005 survey, more frequent use of spirometry has been observed (42.6 vs. 68.7%), without any change in seeking medical attention for respiratory symptoms. There is a clear variability according to the autonomous community (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Many individuals with chronic respiratory symptoms do not seek medical attention and although the use of spirometry has increased in the past 15 years, it is still an important area that needs improving in the primary care setting, especially among women. Both of these factors can be determinants in the underdiagnosis of COPD and its variability between autonomous communities.
Respiratory symptoms; Spirometry; Underdiagnosis
Calle Rubio M, Rodríguez Hermosa JL, Miravitlles M, López-Campos JL. Determinants in the Underdiagnosis of COPD in Spain-CONOCEPOC Study. J Clin Med. 2022 May;11(9):2670.
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