INTRODUCTION The main risk factor for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is smoking, although there are other secondary factors. A spirometry test is essential to be able to diagnose COPD and to quantify its severity. The IBERPOC study showed a prevalence of COPD of 9.1% among the Spanish population aged between 40 and 70, and calculated an underdiagnosis of 78%. A delay in diagnosis can lead to an irreversible deterioration of pulmonary function in addition to a high care cost.
OBJECTIVES To test and analyse the possibilities of community pharmacy to offer early filtering for COPD.
MATERIAL AND METHODS Design: a descriptive, transversal pilot study. Location: a community pharmacy in the city of Mataró (Catalonia). Material: Vitalograph® COPD-6 electronic COPD screening device. Selection criteria: patients of both sexes, aged between 25 and 70, without previously diagnosed COPD, smokers, exsmokers and/or non-smokers with COPD symptoms. Pharmaceutical interventions: 1) Direct referral to a specialist before the results of the COPD, 2) Referral to local GP3 in obstructive patterns, 3) Inclusion in programmes to give up smoking for smokers who agreed to participate.
RESULTS OF THE PILOT TEST Two new cases of previously undiagnosed COPD were detected. 24.6% of the patients showed some obstructive pattern.
DISCUSSION The general use of spirometry in the community pharmacy area contributes to increasing early detection of COPD, improves the patient's quality of life, reduces costs in the health system and acts on the main cause of COPD: smoking.