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Am Fam Physician. 2023;108(5):online

As published by the USPSTF.

What does the USPSTF recommend?Do not screen asymptomatic adults for COPD.
Grade: D
To whom does the recommendation apply?This recommendation applies to adults who do not recognize or report respiratory symptoms.
It does not apply to persons with symptoms such as chronic cough, sputum production, difficulty breathing, or wheezing.
It does not apply to populations at very high risk for COPD, such as persons with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency or workers exposed to certain toxins at their job.
What's new?This recommendation is consistent with the 2016 USPSTF recommendation.
How to implement this recommendation?Do not screen for COPD in patients with no symptoms.
Clinicians can help reduce patients' risk for COPD by supporting them in not starting to smoke and helping them quit if they do.
What additional information should clinicians know about this recommendation?Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD.
COPD is most common in Native American/Alaska Native populations, likely due to the effects of societal challenges and high smoking rates.
Death from chronic lower respiratory disease (mostly COPD) is highest in White adults.
Black adults have more hospitalizations and worse COPD-related quality of life than White adults, despite having lower prevalence of COPD than White adults.
Why are this recommendation and topic important?Chronic lower respiratory disease, composed mainly of COPD, is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.
The reduction of airflow in the lungs from COPD is irreversible.
Progression to severe disease can prevent participation in normal activities because of deterioration of lung function.
What are other relevant USPSTF recommendations?The USPSTF has recommendations that address tobacco smoking cessation in adults, including pregnant persons, and tobacco use in children and adolescents. These recommendations are available at
What are additional tools and resources?The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and other federal agencies provide a comprehensive systems-based COPD National Action Plan to reduce the burden of COPD at
The National Institutes of Health's “Learn More Breathe Better” program provides information about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of COPD at
The U.S. Surgeon General provides tools to prevent tobacco use and promote smoking cessation at
Where to read the full recommendation statement?Visit the USPSTF website or the JAMA Network website ( to read the full recommendation statement. This includes more details on the rationale of the recommendation, including benefits and harms; supporting evidence; and recommendations of others.

The USPSTF recommendations are independent of the U.S. government. They do not represent the views of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, or the U.S. Public Health Service.

This series is coordinated by Joanna Drowos, DO, contributing editor.

A collection of USPSTF recommendation statements published in AFP is available at

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