Clinical Edge

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Physician Care for Patients with COPD

CHEST; ePub 2019 Jan 18; Cho, Mecredy, et al

Primary care physicians (PCPs) play a substantial role in caring for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), with pulmonologists and cardiologists seeing far fewer COPD patients, a new study found. The population-based cross-sectional study included individuals aged ≥35 years with physician-diagnosed COPD. The primary outcomes were ambulatory visits to PCPs, pulmonologists, and all other specialists within a 1-year period. Researchers found:

  • 895,155 individuals were identified as having physician-diagnosed COPD.
  • Of these, 56,533 (6.3%) individuals had no ambulatory care visits, 802,327 (89.6%) saw PCPs, and 95,782 (10.7%) saw pulmonologists.
  • By comparison, 736,496 (82.3%) saw other specialists, and 218,997 (24.5%) saw cardiologists.
  • In a sub-cohort, ~30% of patients saw pulmonologists with 1 hospitalization and 43.7% in ≥2 hospitalizations compared to ~10% with no hospitalization.


Cho EE, Mecredy GC, Wong HH, Stanbrook MB, Gershon AS. Which physicians are taking care of people with COPD? [Published online ahead of print January 18, 2019]. CHEST. doi:10.1016/j.chest.2018.12.018.