Risk of COPD with obstruction in active smokers with normal spirometry and reduced diffusion capacity

Post date: Dec 13, 2015 8:26:09 AM

Smokers are assessed for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) using spirometry, with COPD defined by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) as airflow limitation that is not fully reversible with bronchodilators. There is a subset of smokers with normal spirometry (by GOLD criteria), who have a low diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO), a parameter linked to emphysema and small airway disease.

Despite appearing “normal” according to GOLD, smokers with normal spirometry but low DLCO are at significant risk of developing COPD with obstruction to airflow.

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