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Respir Med. 2009 Jun;103(6):839-45. doi: 10.1016/j.rmed.2008.12.022. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

COPD case finding by spirometry in high-risk customers of urban community pharmacies: a pilot study.

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Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hospital del Mar, Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica (IMIM), Barcelona, Spain.



COPD case finding is currently recommended at primary and tertiary care levels only.


To evaluate the feasibility of a community pharmacy program for COPD case finding in high-risk customers by means of spirometry.


Pilot cross-sectional descriptive study in 13 urban community pharmacies in Barcelona, Spain, from April to May 2007. Customers >40 years old with respiratory symptoms and/or a history of smoking were invited to participate in the study during pharmacists' routine work shifts. High-risk customers were identified by means of a 5-item COPD screening questionnaire based on criteria of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease, and were invited to perform spirometry accordingly. Those with an FEV(1)/FVC ratio less than 0.70 were referred to the hospital for a repeat spirometry.


Of the 161 pharmacy customers studied, 100 (62%) scored 3 or more items in the COPD screening questionnaire, and after spirometry, 21 (24%) had an FEV(1)/FVC ratio<0.7. When these subjects with airflow limitation were offered referral to a hospital respiratory function laboratory for further assessments, 11 (52%) attended the appointment. Over 70% of spirometries were rated as being of acceptable quality. No significant differences were observed in lung function parameters between the pharmacy and hospital measurements.


COPD case finding by spirometry in high-risk customers of urban community pharmacies is feasible. Similarly to primary care practitioners, pharmacists have access to high-risk, middle-aged subjects who have never been tested for COPD. Pharmacists can help with early detection of COPD if they are correctly trained.

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