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Early management of COPD: where are we now and where do we go from here? A Delphi consensus project

Authors Di Marco F, Balbo P, de Blasio F, Cardaci V, Crimi N, Girbino G, Pelaia G, Pirina P, Roversi P, Santus P, Scichilone N, Vatrella A, Pasqualetti P, Carone M

Received 19 June 2018

Accepted for publication 6 November 2018

Published 4 February 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 353—360


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Fabiano Di Marco,1 Piero Balbo,2 Francesco de Blasio,3 Vittorio Cardaci,4 Nunzio Crimi,5 Giuseppe Girbino,6 Girolamo Pelaia,7 Pietro Pirina,8 Pietro Roversi,9 Pierachille Santus,10,11 Nicola Scichilone,12 Alessandro Vatrella,13 Patrizio Pasqualetti,14 Mauro Carone15

1Department of Health Sciences, University of Milan, Respiratory Unit, Papa Giovanni XXIII Hospital, Bergamo, Italy; 2SC Malattie dell’Apparato Respiratorio, AOU Maggiore della Carità, Novara, Italy; 3Respiratory Medicine and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Section, Clinic Center S.p.A. Private Hospital, Department of Medicine and Health Sciences “V Tiberio”, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy; 4Unit of Pulmonary Rehabilitation, IRCCS “San Raffaele Pisana”, Rome, Italy; 5Unità Operativa Complessa di Pneumologia e Allergologia, Policlinico Rodolico Vittorio Emanuele, Università di Catania, Catania, Italy; 6Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Odontoiatriche e delle Immagini Morfologiche e Funzionali (BIOMORF), Università degli Studi di Messina, Messina, Italy; 7Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Unit of Respiratory Diseases, University Magna Graecia of Catanzaro, Catanzaro, Italy; 8Respiratory Unit, AOU Sassari, Sassari, Italy; 9Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Policlinico di Modena, Modena, Italy; 10Department of Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy; 11Division of Respiratory Diseases “L. Sacco” Hospital, ASST Fatebenefratelli Sacco, Milan, Italy; 12Dipartimento Biomedico di Medicina Interna e Specialistica (DIBIMIS), University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy; 13Department of Medicine, Surgery and Dentistry “Scuola Medica Salernitana”, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy; 14Fondazione Fatebenefratelli per la Ricerca e la Formazione Sanitaria e Sociale, Rome, Italy; 15Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri, IRCCS di Cassano delle Murge, Cassano delle Murge (BA), Italy

Purpose: There is a lack of consensus on the most appropriate early diagnostic strategy, criteria for early access to treatment and follow-up approach for patients with COPD.
Materials and methods: A Delphi consensus project investigated the early management of COPD. We formulated two questionnaires for completion by pneumologists in Italy.
Results: A total of 207 specialists completed questionnaire 1 and 184 of them questionnaire 2, between November 2016 and October 2017. Early diagnosis of COPD was considered uncommon for 93.2% of the expert panel. Regardless of the definition of “early diagnosis” – a diagnosis made before the clinical manifestation of the disease for most responders (60.4%) – experts were confident of the positive effects of early disease management, which they consider is effective in modifying the natural history of the disease. Lack of awareness of the disease was considered the first limiting factor to early COPD management for 78% of respondents. The most effective steps to reduce functional decline were considered to be smoking cessation, followed by long-acting β2-agonist (LABA)/long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA), LAMA, LABA, and finally inhaled corticosteroid/LABA (P<0.01 for each paired comparison). Specialists considered it “inappropriate” for general practitioners to perform both the early diagnosis and therapy of COPD without the involvement of a specialist.
Conclusion: Early management of COPD is uncommon, and although data on the effects of early disease management on long-term outcomes are limited, Italian experts are confident of the clinical efficacy of this approach.

Keywords: Italy, bronchodilator therapy, respiratory symptoms, dyspnea

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