Plain chest x-ray (CXR) in the diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
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Elizabeth Pudney1 and Martin Doherty1
Background: The diagnosis of COPD is based on spirometry1. A CXR can be reported as suggestive of COPD but is not diagnostic. This could inadvertently cause confusion or worry.
Aim: We examined the frequency of COPD on CXR reports and whether this correlates with a spirometric diagnosis of COPD and the severity of COPD.
Method: Patients were referred from general practice to a direct access spirometry service. All patients had a CXR within 3 months of spirometry. Patients were classified as not COPD, mild, moderate or severe COPD. X-ray reports were then reviewed.
Conclusions: Patients who have COPD were more likely to get a radiological diagnosis of COPD on CXR reporting. One third of patients with positive x-ray reports did not have COPD on spirometry. This has the potential to cause misdiagnosis and errors in care for a sizeable number of patients.
PDPI Malang. 10/02/18.
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