Introduction: Important studies, as EPISCAN, have revealed in Spain a delay in diagnosis of COPD and a high rate of underdiagnosis, finding that 73% of patients were undiagnosed and most of those who were already diagnosed were in III and IV stages of COPD. This delay in diagnosis causes high morbidity and high health care costs. For all that, early diagnosis is necessary.
Objectives: To identify undiagnosed COPD patients, using a COPD screening service offered by community pharmacies.
Material and methods: Study Population: current, former and passive smokers, aged 40 or older who have signs or chronic symptoms were recruited. Those who obtained a score ≥ 4 in COPD-PS questionnaire underwent a forced expiratory test by using Vitalograph COPD-6 portable device. If the FEV1/FEV6 value was <0.75, the patient was referred to the general practitioner (GP) in order to confirm COPD diagnosis with conventional spirometry.
Results: A total of 198 patients were recruited, 154 of them had a COPD-PS score ≥ 4, of whom 38 (24.67%) presented results of FEV1/FEV6 <0.75. The prevalence of COPD in this study may have been estimated at 19.2% of patients enrolled.
Discussion and conclusions: The significant proportion of patients detected with a possible diagnosis of COPD demonstrates the utility to implement services of screening and early detection of COPD in community pharmacies.