While the FEV1/FVC ratio of < .70 in the current GOLD guidelines has long been the standard for confirming a COPD diagnosis, some have suggested other thresholds such as lower limit of normal although less familiar may be superior for clinicians performing spirometry.
A new study “Discriminative Accuracy of FEV1:FVC Thresholds for COPD-Related Hospitalization and Mortality” funded by NIH’s NHLBI, analyzed spirometry data from over 24,000 adults and determined that the currently used FEV1/FVC was more accurate at predicting COPD than other thresholds. These results support the use of FEV1/FVC to identify individuals at risk of clinically significant COPD, researchers wrote.
Approximately 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD and many millions more also have it but don’t know it because they haven’t yet been diagnosed, according to the NIH.
Confirming airflow limitation with the familiar and easy-to-use FEV1/FVC ratio as currently recommended in the GOLD guidelines is not only critical to improving the adoption of spirometry in primary care; it could also result in earlier identification and treatment for patients.