Early Detection of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Asymptomatic High Risk Male Smoker


background: COPD is responsible for permanent morbidity, premature mortality, and great burden to the healthcare system. The most commonly encountered risk factor is tobacco smoking. Without screening, patients usually overlook early symptoms of cough and wheezes but commonly seek medical advice when they become dyspnic on mild to moderate exertion. By that time, half of their ventilatory reserves are lost. Spirometry remains the gold standard for diagnosing COPD and monitoring its progression.Aim of study: since COPD is preventable condition, we tried to screen high risk individuals with the aim of early detection and preventionPatients and methods: consecutive asymptomatic male smokers (n=170) were selected by high risk population screening. Participants were eligible if they were ≥ 30 years of age, regular smokers, had smoking history of >10 pack years with no significant respiratory symptoms except for occasional cough and willing to undergo spirometry.Results: a total of 170 asymptomatic male smokers were screened by spirometry according to the American thoracic society and European respiratory society. Overall, airway obstruction was seen in 30 (17.6%) subjects. Mild obstruction was seen in 19 (63.3%) and moderate obstruction in 11 (36.7%) subjects.Discussion: Airway obstruction was linked with duration of smoking (P value <0.001) and number of pack years (P value <0.001).Conclusions and Recommendations: early detection of COPD by spirometry especially in smokers of more than 20 pack years is likely to reduce the overall burden of disease.