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Letter to the Editor, International Journal of COPD [Letter]

Authors Miller M, Cooper BG, Stanojevic S

Received 2 July 2020

Accepted for publication 8 August 2020

Published 28 September 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 2307—2308

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S270477

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

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Martin Miller, 1 Brendan G Cooper, 2 Sanja Stanojevic 3

1Institute of Applied Health Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK; 2Lung Function and Sleep, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, UK; 3Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada

Correspondence: Brendan G Cooper
Lung Function and Sleep, Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Mindelsohn Way, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2GW, UK
Tel +44 121 371 3890
Email [email protected]

 

We read the paper by Llordés et al 1 with some interest. The results from this small study are interesting but the analysis and conclusion seem to be at odds with the data. The authors consider a COPD diagnosis by both lower limit of normal (LLN) and the fixed ratio (FR), that is FEV1/FVC< 0.7, as concordant (LLN+FR+) and subjects who are FR+LLN- as discordant. Their data show that the discordant group have lower CAT score and lower BODE index suggesting that this group likely has other co-morbidities. As expected, the discordant group is older, more maledominated 2 and has fewer hospital admissions. Furthermore, the discordant group has a better overall survival and less respiratory mortality which highlights that the discordant group is quite dissimilar to the concordant group. It is not clear how these data clearly demonstrate that using the FR in the diagnosis COPD is superior to LLN. 

 
View the original paper by Llordés and colleagues

A Response to Letter has been published for this article. 

 

 

 

Dear editor

We read the paper by Llordés et al1 with some interest. The results from this small study are interesting but the analysis and conclusion seem to be at odds with the data. The authors consider a COPD diagnosis by both lower limit of normal (LLN) and the fixed ratio (FR), that is FEV1/FVC<0.7, as concordant (LLN+FR+) and subjects who are FR+LLN- as discordant. Their data show that the discordant group have lower CAT score and lower BODE index suggesting that this group likely has other co-morbidities. As expected, the discordant group is older, more male-dominated2 and has fewer hospital admissions. Furthermore, the discordant group has a better overall survival and less respiratory mortality which highlights that the discordant group is quite dissimilar to the concordant group. It is not clear how these data clearly demonstrate that using the FR in the diagnosis COPD is superior to LLN.

The single piece of data the authors have to support their main conclusion, that the FR is better for diagnosing COPD than the LLN, is that the discordant group has a greater decline in FEV1/FVC than the concordant group. This is not an acceptable way to look at deterioration of airflow obstruction.3 In patients with a low FEV1/FVC the ratio can increase with severity since the FVC starts to reduce to a greater extent because of premature airway closure. Decline in FEV1 should be used to assess deterioration, and no significant difference in annualised decline in FEV1 was shown.

The authors strong conclusion that LLN is less useful than FR for diagnosing COPD in primary care seems to be a misinterpretation of the data presented.

Disclosure

The authors report no conflicts of interest in this communication.

References

1. Llordes M, Jaen A, Zurdo E, Vazquez I, Almagro P. Fixed ratio versus lower limit of normality for diagnosing COPD in primary care: long-term follow-up of EGARPOC Study. JCOPD. 2020;15:1403–1413.

2. Miller MR, Levy ML. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: missed diagnosis versus misdiagnosis. Br Med J. 2015;351:h3021. doi:10.1136/bmj.h3021

3. Pellegrino R, Viegi G, Brusasco V, et al. Interpretative strategies for lung function tests. Eur Respir J. 2005;26:948–968. doi:10.1183/09031936.05.00035205

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