Rationale: COPD diagnosis requires relevant symptoms and an FEV1/FVC ratio of <0.7 post-bronchodilator on spirometry. Patients are frequently labeled as COPD based on clinical presentation and admitted to the hospital with this diagnosis even though spirometry is either not available or has never been performed. The aim of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of COPD diagnosis based on post-bronchodilator spirometry, following hospital admission for COPD exacerbation. Methods: This is a retrospective study with a cross-sectional analysis of a subgroup of patients. Demographic and clinical data and pre-admission spirometry were collected from electronic records of patients hospitalized with a primary diagnosis of COPD. Patients without available spirometry were contacted for a pulmonary consultation and spirometry. Three groups were compared: patients with a confirmed COPD diagnosis (FEV1/FVC < 0.7), without COPD (FEV1/FVC > 0.7), and those who have never performed spirometry. Results: A total of 1138 patients with a recorded diagnosis of COPD were identified of which 233 patients were included in the analysis. Only 44.6% of patients had confirmed COPD according to GOLD criteria. In total, 32.6% of the patients had never undergone spirometry but were treated as COPD, and 22.7% had performed spirometry without evidence of COPD. Recurrent admission due to COPD was a strong predictor of a confirmed COPD diagnosis. Conclusions: Among the patients admitted to the hospital with a COPD diagnosis, a high proportion were not confirmed by the current GOLD report or had never performed spirometry. Stricter implementation of the diagnostic criteria of COPD in admitted patients is necessary to improve diagnosis and the treatment outcomes in these patients.
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- chronic obstructive pulmonary disease