MONDAY, Nov. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — An integrated approach using data from the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Genetic Epidemiologic study (COPDGene®) could identify individuals with possible or probable COPD as well as definite COPD, according to a study published in a special issue of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases: Journal of the COPD Foundation.

Katherine E. Lowe, from the Cleveland Lerner College of Medicine of the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine, and colleagues assessed four key disease characteristics (environmental exposure, clinical symptoms, chest computed tomography [CT] imaging abnormalities, and abnormal spirometry) among 8,784 current and former smokers.

Individuals were classified as having possible, probable, and definite COPD. The researchers found that overall, 46 percent (4,062) of the study participants would be diagnosed with COPD using the current Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) criteria. An additional 3,144 participants would be added using the proposed COPDGene® 2019 diagnostic criteria. Eighty-two percent of the 8,784 participants would be diagnosed with possible, probable, or definite COPD under the new criteria. An increased risk for disease progression and mortality was seen in these groups. As the number of COPD characteristics increased, patient mortality increased; the maximum hazard ratio was 5.18 for all-cause mortality in patients with all four disease characteristics.

“Our proposed diagnostic criteria better capture the full spectrum of people suffering from COPD,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This can lead to better care for patients and stimulate research to slow or stop progression of the disease or even prevent it.”

The COPDGene® study was supported by the COPD Foundation through contributions from pharmaceutical companies.