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Clinical Summary

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Screening

Recommendations made by the USPSTF are independent of the U.S. government. They should not be construed as an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Population Asymptomatic adults who do not present with respiratory symptoms
Recommendation Do not screen for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Grade: D
Risk Assessment Risk factors include history of exposure to cigarette smoke or heating fuels; occupational exposure to toxins, dusts, or industrial chemicals; exposure to environmental pollution, such as wood smoke and traffic pollutants; history of asthma or childhood respiratory tract infections; and α1-antitrypsin deficiency.
Screening Tests Primary care screening involves either risk assessment via a formal prescreening questionnaire and, if positive, follow-up with diagnostic spirometry testing or screening spirometry administered without a bronchodilator and, if positive, follow-up with diagnostic spirometry testing.
Treatment and Interventions Medications used to treat COPD include long-acting β-agonists, inhaled corticosteroids, long-acting anticholinergics, and combination therapy with corticosteroids and long-acting β-agonists.
Balance of Benefits and Harms The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that screening for COPD in asymptomatic persons has no net benefit.
Other Relevant USPSTF Recommendations The USPSTF recommends that clinicians ask all adults about tobacco use, including pregnant women, and provide tobacco cessation interventions for those who use tobacco products. The USPSTF also recommends that clinicians provide interventions, including education or brief counseling, to prevent initiation of tobacco use in school-aged children and adolescents. These recommendations are available on the USPSTF website: (

For a summary of the evidence systematically reviewed in making this recommendation, the full recommendation statement, and supporting documents, please go to

Current as of: April 2016

Internet Citation: Clinical Summary: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Screening. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. April 2016.

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