Case-finding of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease with questionnaire, peak flow measurements and spirometry: a cross-sectional study

Bassam Mahboub, Ashraf Alzaabi, Joan B Soriano, Laila Salameh, Yousef A L Mutairi, Afzalhussein A Yusufali, Alawi Alsheikh-ali, Wael Almahmeed, John Haughney

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BACKGROUND: Spirometry is commonly accepted as the gold standard for the diagnosis of COPD, but the reality remains that quality assured spirometry is not or cannot be provided universally around the globe. Adding PEF measurement to a screening questionnaire may rule out airflow limitation compatible with COPD rationalizing spirometry testing.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey in a sample of individuals 40-80 yrs. old in Dubai, UAE. They were invited to answer a short socio-demographic questionnaire including a report on current, past history of smoking, and had PEF measured, then they conducted spirometry to identify airflow limitation compatible with COPD.

RESULTS: Overall, 525 (91.0%) participants performed PEF and spirometry (68% male, with a mean age of 59 years, 17% UAE Nationals), 24% reported smoking of different sorts. Overall, 68 participants (12.9%, 95% C.I. 10.3% to 16.1%) had airflow limitation compatible with COPD. PEFR alone identified 141 participants with airflow limitation compatible with COPD, with specificity of 80% and sensitivity of 73.5%.

CONCLUSIONS: PEFR could be an easy, cheap, and non-biased tool to assist with the case-finding of COPD before confirmation with spirometry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number241
JournalBMC Research Notes
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peak Expiratory Flow Rate
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive
  • Smoking
  • Spirometry
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Arab Emirates

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