[Guideline-conformity of outpatient COPD management by pneumologists]

T Glaab, N Banik, M Trautmann, A Hellmann, M Wencker
Pneumologie 2006, 60 (7): 395-400

BACKGROUND: Several evidenced-based clinical guidelines are available for COPD which is the most frequent chronic respiratory disease. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the outpatient COPD management of pneumologists based on current national and international guidelines for the first time and to identify any deviations.

METHODS: A nationwide prospective cross-sectional survey was performed as a multiple-choice questionnaire sent to 863 pneumologists in Germany. The product-neutral questions focused on the knowledge about, acceptance of and practical experience with current national and international COPD guidelines.

RESULTS: 359 pneumologists (41.6 %) participated in the survey. 60.4 % of the participants preferred the GOLD guideline over the German COPD guideline (33.4 %). 54.3 % considered bodyplethysmography as the diagnostic standard, followed by spirometry (38.4 %). However, only about 80 % were able to cite the correct spirometric criteria for classifying COPD severity. It is remarkable that many physicians still oriented to the outdated GOLD classification of 2001. The two most important treatment goals cited were to improve quality of life (82.2 %) and prevent exacerbations (63 %). Except for the criteria for the use of steroids and the implementation of pulmonary rehabilitation measures, treatment of COPD based on severity class was largely in compliance with the guidelines. However, a significant percentage of the pneumologists incorrectly assessed the evidence-based clinical benefits of various therapeutic measures.

CONCLUSION: The results of this survey show that most pneumologists adhere to guideline recommendations in daily practice and prefer the GOLD over the national COPD guideline. However, deficiencies in guideline conformity still exist with regard to severity classification and treatment of COPD.

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