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Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. COPD is of particular concern in certain sectors of the country, including Central Appalachia where our clinic is located. Assessing patients with COPD presents many challenges as symptoms range from those considered "typical" such as shortness of breath and sputum production to those less often identified like anxiety and social isolation. We conducted a pilot study comparing physician standard assessment of COPD to patient self-assessment using the COPD Assessment Test (CAT). The CAT is an eight-item questionnaire that measures the impact COPD has on an individual patient’s well-being and daily life. Based on our small sample size, physicians tend to underestimate the impact of COPD on a patient’s daily life. This discrepancy did not differ significantly by year of residency. Potential clinical impact of these findings include the need for more formalized and frequent patient self-assessment of disease burden as well as increased COPD assessment training within the residency curriculum.


San Diego, CA

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Copyright The Authors. Document was originally published in the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine Resource Library.