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Initial diagnosis and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Australia: views from the coal face


Bereznicki, B and Walters, H and Walters, J and Peterson, G and Bereznicki, L, Initial diagnosis and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Australia: views from the coal face, Internal Medicine Journal, 47, (7) pp. 807-813. ISSN 1444-0903 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright 2017 Royal Australasian College of Physicians This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bereznicki, B., Walters, H., Walters, J., Peterson, G. and Bereznicki, L. (2017), Initial diagnosis and management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in Australia: views from the coal face. Intern Med J. Accepted Author Manuscript., which has been published in final form at 10.1111/imj.13418. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

DOI: doi:10.1111/imj.13418


Background: Early diagnosis and management can mitigate the long-term morbidity and mortality of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Aims: To gain insights into the initial diagnostic process and early management of COPD by Australian general practitioners (GPs).

Methods: A random sample of Australian GPs was invited to complete a postal survey, which assessed familiarity with and use of contemporary practice guidelines, diagnostic criteria, and management preferences for COPD.

Results: Two hundred and thirty-three GPs completed the survey. While most GPs based a COPD diagnosis on smoking history (94.4%), symptoms (91.0%) and spirometry (88.8%), only 39.9% of respondents recorded a formal diagnosis of COPD after the patient's first symptomatic presentation. Tiotropium was the preferred treatment in 77.3% of GPs for the initial management of COPD, while only 27.5% routinely recommended pulmonary rehabilitation. GPs routinely recorded patients' smoking status and offered smoking cessation advice, but the timing of this advice varied. Less than half of the respondents routinely used COPD management guidelines, or tools and resources provided by the Australian Lung Foundation.

Conclusion: There is scope for major improvement in GPs' familiarity with and use of COPD management guidelines, and readily available tools and resources. Some systematic issues were highlighted in the Australian primary care setting, such as a reactive and relatively passive and delayed approach to diagnosis, potentially delayed smoking cessation advice and under-utilisation of pulmonary rehabilitation. There is an urgent need to devise strategies for improving patient outcomes in COPD using resources that are readily available.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:COPD, elderly, respiratory, pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive, general practice, guideline adherence, diagnosis, disease management
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences
Research Field:Clinical pharmacy and pharmacy practice
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bereznicki, B (Dr Bonnie Bereznicki)
UTAS Author:Walters, H (Professor Haydn Walters)
UTAS Author:Walters, J (Dr Julia Walters)
UTAS Author:Peterson, G (Professor Gregory Peterson)
UTAS Author:Bereznicki, L (Professor Luke Bereznicki)
ID Code:115323
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:4
Deposited By:Pharmacy
Deposited On:2017-03-17
Last Modified:2018-07-25
Downloads:22 View Download Statistics

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