December 6, 2021.
National Center for Health Research’s Comments on U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s Draft Recommendation on Screening for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
We are writing to express our views on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force’s (USPSTF) draft recommendation statement regarding screening for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in asymptomatic adults.
The National Center for Health Research (NCHR) is a nonprofit think tank that conducts, analyzes, and scrutinizes research on a range of health issues, with particular focus on which prevention strategies and treatments are most effective for which patients and consumers. We do not accept funding from companies that make products that are the subject of our work, so we have no conflicts of interest.
We strongly support the “D” grade reaffirmation of the 2016 recommendation against screening for COPD in asymptomatic adults. There is simply not sufficient evidence that screening for COPD in asymptomatic adults (or treatments for asymptomatic adults) reduce morbidity or mortality or improve health-related quality of life.
We also agree with the current research gaps USPSTF identified in the recommendation statement. In particular, there is a need for long-term follow up of the effectiveness of screening and treatments for asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic adults to slow disease progression and improve health outcomes. There is also a need to address the potential harms of screening in those with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic COPD.
We also commend USPSTF for highlighting the need for more research on the drivers of health disparities among different racial and ethnic groups and acknowledging the importance of socioeconomic challenges leading to health risk behaviors associated with COPD. We agree that more research is needed on prevention strategies that may improve health inequities.
The National Center for Health Research can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (202) 223-4000.