A low maximal expiratory flow at 50% of forced vital capacity helped predict risks for respiratory symptoms in patients without spirometry-confirmed COPD, according to study results. The diagnostic tool also appeared to help identify unrecognized heart failure in those patients, according to researchers.

The analysis included 405 adults aged 65 years or older with a general practitioner’s diagnosis of COPD, of which 161 did not have spirometry-confirmed COPD.

Less than half of those patients (37.9%) had a MEF50 less than 60%. A reduced MEF50 increased the odds of newly detected heart failure at assessment (29.5% vs. 15.6%).