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Screening for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary DiseaseUpdated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force

To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

Importance  Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the US.

Objective  To conduct a targeted systematic review to update the evidence on the effectiveness of screening for COPD and the treatment of COPD to inform the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) update of the 2016 recommendation statement on COPD screening.

Data Sources  MEDLINE, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and CINAHL for relevant studies published between January 1, 2015, to January 22, 2021; surveillance through March 25, 2022.

Study Selection  English-language studies of screening in individuals who do not recognize or report respiratory symptoms; studies of treatment in persons with mild or moderate, or minimally symptomatic, COPD.

Data Extraction and Synthesis  Two reviewers independently appraised the articles and extracted relevant data from fair- or good-quality studies; no quantitative synthesis was conducted.

Main Outcomes and Measures  COPD-related morbidity or mortality, measures of health-related quality of life, and adverse events.

Results  The review included no trials on the effectiveness of screening, 3 trials or analyses (n = 20 058) of pharmacologic treatment published since 2015, 13 trials (n = 3657) on nonpharmacologic interventions, and 2 large observational studies (n = 243 517) addressing the harms of pharmacologic treatment published since 2015. The results from the clinical trials of pharmacologic therapy are consistent with the previous review supporting the USPSTF that bronchodilators with or without inhaled corticosteroids can reduce COPD exacerbations and tiotropium can improve health-related quality of life in adults with moderate COPD. Overall, there was no consistent benefit observed for any type of nonpharmacologic intervention across a range of patient outcomes. None of the included treatment trials that reported adverse effects found significant harms. Two large observational studies in a screen-relevant population demonstrated an association of the initiation of a long-acting muscarinic antagonist or long-acting beta agonist with the risk of a serious cardiovascular event in treatment-naïve patients and an association of inhaled corticosteroids use with the risk of developing diabetes.

Conclusions and Relevance  The findings of this targeted evidence update are generally consistent with the findings of the previous systematic review supporting the 2016 USPSTF recommendation. Evidence of pharmacologic treatment was still largely limited to persons with moderate airflow obstruction, and there was no consistent benefit observed for a range of nonpharmacologic interventions in mild to moderate COPD or in minimally symptomatic persons with COPD.

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CME Disclosure Statement: Unless noted, all individuals in control of content reported no relevant financial relationships. If applicable, all relevant financial relationships have been mitigated.

Article Information

Accepted for Publication: March 14, 2022.

Corresponding Author: Jennifer S. Lin, MD, Kaiser Permanente Evidence-based Practice Center, Center for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, 3800 N Interstate Ave, Portland, OR 97227 (jennifer.s.lin@kpchr.org).

Author Contributions: Ms Webber and Dr Lin had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Concept and design: Webber, Lin.

Acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data: All authors.

Drafting of the manuscript: Webber.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: All authors.

Obtained funding: Lin.

Administrative, technical, or material support: Webber, Thomas.

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.

Funding/Support: This research was funded under HHSA290201500007I, Task Order 9, from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), US Department of Health and Human Services, under a contract to support the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).

Role of the Funder/Sponsor: Investigators worked with USPSTF members and AHRQ staff to develop the scope, analytic framework, and key questions for this review. AHRQ had no role in study selection, quality assessment, or synthesis. AHRQ staff provided project oversight, reviewed the report to ensure that the analysis met methodological standards, and distributed the draft for peer review. Otherwise, AHRQ had no role in the conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; and preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript findings. The opinions expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not reflect the official position of AHRQ or the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Additional Contributions: We thank the following for their contributions to this project: the AHRQ staff; the US Preventive Services Task Force; and Melinda Davies, MAIS, and Jill Pope, BA (Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research), for technical and editorial assistance. The USPSTF members, peer reviewers, and federal partner reviewers did not receive financial compensation for their contributions.

Additional Information: A draft version of this evidence report underwent external peer review from 3 content experts (Jerry Krishnan MD, PhD, University of Illinois Chicago; Richard Mularski, MD, MSHS, MCR, Kaiser Permanente Northwest; Barbara Yawn, MD, MSc, University of Minnesota) and 1 federal partner (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Comments were presented to the USPSTF during its deliberation of the evidence and were considered in preparing the final evidence review.

Editorial Disclaimer: This evidence report is presented as a document in support of the accompanying USPSTF Recommendation Statement. It did not undergo additional peer review after submission to JAMA.

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AMA CME Accreditation Information

Credit Designation Statement: The American Medical Association designates this Journal-based CME activity activity for a maximum of 1.00  AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to:

  • 1.00 Medical Knowledge MOC points in the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program;;
  • 1.00 Self-Assessment points in the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery’s (ABOHNS) Continuing Certification program;
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