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Understanding of COPD among final-year medical students

Authors Mohigefer J, Calero-Acuña C, Marquez-Martin E, Ortega-Ruiz F, Lopez-Campos JL

Received 31 March 2017

Accepted for publication 25 September 2017

Published 28 December 2017 Volume 2018:13 Pages 131—139


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Javier Mohigefer,1 Carmen Calero-Acuña,2,3 Eduardo Marquez-Martin,2 Francisco Ortega-Ruiz,2,3 Jose Luis Lopez-Campos2,3

1Faculty of Medicine, 2Medical-Surgical Unit of Respiratory Diseases, Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla (IBiS), Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville, 3CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain

Several previous studies have shown a suboptimal level of understanding of COPD among different population groups. Students in their final year of Medicine constitute a population that has yet to be explored. The evaluation of their understanding provides an opportunity to establish strategies to improve teaching processes. The objective of the present study is to determine the current level of understanding of COPD among said population.
Methods: A cross-sectional observational study was done using digital surveys given to medical students in their final year at the Universidad de Sevilla. Those surveyed were asked about demographic data, smoking habits as well as the clinical manifestation, diagnosis and treatment of COPD.
Results: Of the 338 students contacted, responses were collected from 211 of them (62.4%). Only 25.2% had an accurate idea about the concept of the disease. The study found that 24.0% of students were familiar with the three main symptoms of COPD. Tobacco use was not considered a main risk factor for COPD by 1.5% of students. Of those surveyed, 22.8% did not know how to spirometrically diagnose COPD. Inhaled corticosteroids were believed to be part of the main treatment for this disease among 51.0% of the students. Results show that 36.4% of respondents believed that home oxygen therapy does not help COPD patients live longer. Only 15.0% considered the Body-mass index, airflow Obstruction, Dyspnea, and Exercise (BODE) index to be an important parameter for measuring the severity of COPD. Giving up smoking was not believed to prevent worsening COPD among 3.4% of students surveyed. Almost half of students (47.1%) did not recommend that those suffering from COPD undertake exercise.
Conclusion: The moderate level of understanding among the population of medical students in their final year shows some strengths and some shortcomings. Teaching intervention is required to reinforce solid knowledge among this population.

Keywords: COPD, knowledge, surveys and questionnaires, students, medical

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