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Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2009 May;18(5):393-400. doi: 10.1002/pds.1734.

Adherence to diagnostic guidelines and quality indicators in asthma and COPD in Swedish primary care.

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Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, Malmö, Sweden.



To study the clinical evaluation and treatment of patients with asthma and COPD in primary care in Sweden, with a focus on adherence to recommended guidelines and quality indicators.


All visits at health care centres in Skaraborg, Sweden, are documented in computerized medical records constituting the Skaraborg Primary Care Database (SPCD). In a register-based retrospective observational study, all patients diagnosed with asthma or COPD during 2000-2005 (n = 12,328) were identified. In a 5% random sample (n = 623), information on performed investigations at initial visits and at follow-up during 2004-2005 was collected. Compliance with procedures as recommended by national guidelines was used for quality assessment.


Among 499 patients with asthma, 167 (33%) were investigated with spirometry or Peak Expiratory Flow (PEF) during initial visits in agreement with guidelines. Correspondingly, 40 out of 124 patients with COPD (32%) were investigated with spirometry. During follow-up, evaluation in agreement with guidelines was performed in 130 (60%) of patients with asthma and in 35 patients out of 77 (45%) with COPD. Prescribing of ICS reached quality target, still every second patient made an acute visit during follow-up.


Adherence to recommended guidelines in asthma/COPD was low. Acute visits were common and despite the prescribing of ICS according to recommendations, patients still seem uncontrolled in their disease. There is a need for quality improvement in the clinical evaluation and treatment of patients with asthma and COPD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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