p. 887-895Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common disease in adults over 40 years of age and has a great social and economic impact. It remains little recognized and undertreated even in developed countries. However, there are no data about its diagnosis and treatment in Brazil. The objectives of the present study were to evaluate the proportion of COPD patients who had never been diagnosed and to determine if the COPD patients who had been identified were receiving appropriate treatment. The Latin American Project for the Investigation of Obstructive Lung Disease (PLATINO) was a randomized epidemiological study of adults over 40 years living in five metropolitan areas, including São Paulo. The studied sample was randomly selected from the population after a division of the metropolitan area of São Paulo in clusters according to social characteristics. All subjects answered a standardized questionnaire on respiratory symptoms, history of smoking, previous diagnosis of lung disease, and treatments. All subjects performed spirometry. The criterion for the diagnosis of COPD was defined by a post-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC ratio lower than 0.7. A total of 918 subjects were evaluated and 144 (15.8%) met the diagnostic criterion for COPD. However, 126 individuals (87.5%) had never been diagnosed. This undiagnosed group of COPD patients had a lower proportion of subjects with respiratory symptoms than the previously diagnosed patients (88.9 vs 54.8%) and showed better lung function with greater FEV1 (86.8 ± 20.8 vs 68.5 ± 23.6% predicted) and FVC (106.6 ± 22.4 vs 92.0 ± 24.1% predicted). Among the COPD patients, only 57.3% were advised to stop smoking and 30.6% received the influenza vaccine. In addition, 82.3% did not receive any pharmacological treatment. In conclusion, COPD is underdiagnosed and a large number of COPD patients are not treated appropriately
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