NICE wants improved COPD diagnosis and management

NICE has issued updated COPD guidance designed to improve diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

COPD: treatment must improve (Photgraph: Ducane Medical Imaging Ltd)
COPD: treatment must improve (Photgraph: Ducane Medical Imaging Ltd)

The institute said diagnosis and management of adults with COPD in primary and secondary care could improve. The guidance advises measuring post-bronchodilator spirometry to confirm the diagnosis of COPD.

In addition, pulmonary rehabilitation should be made available to all appropriate patients, including those who have had a recent hospitalisation for an acute exacerbation, it says.

When appropriate, GPs should offer nicotine replacement therapy, varenicline or bupropion to patients who plan to stop smoking, combined with an appropriate support programme to optimise quit rates for people with COPD.

GPs should also note the potential risk of developing side-effects, including non-fatal pneumonia, in people with COPD treated with inhaled corticosteroids, and they should be prepared to discuss this with patients, NICE says.

Dr Fergus Macbeth, director of the centre for clinical practice at NICE, said: 'This new guideline...will help complement a wider DoH national strategy for COPD to identify the best ways to improve care.'

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