Active case finding was found to be a useful and cost effective strategy for identifying patients with COPD in the primary care setting, according to UK researchers.

In a randomized, controlled trial, active case findings, which involved questionnaires designed to identify respiratory symptoms in smokers and former smokers, was significantly more effective for finding patients with previously undiagnosed COPD than usual care in a primary care population of close to 75,000 patients being treated at general practices in the UK, reported Rachel E. Jordan, PhD, of the University of Birmingham, and colleagues.

At 1 year, 4% of COPD cases in the targeted case-finding group were newly detected, compared with 1% of cases in the usual care group, they wrote in Lancet Respiratory Medicine.