Predicting risk of COPD in primary care: development and validation of a clinical risk score

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Colleges, School and Institutes


OBJECTIVES: To develop and validate a clinical risk score to identify patients at risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) using clinical factors routinely recorded in primary care.

DESIGN: Case-control study of patients containing one incident COPD case to two controls matched on age, sex and general practice. Candidate risk factors were included in a conditional logistic regression model to produce a clinical score. Accuracy of the score was estimated on a separate external validation sample derived from 20 purposively selected practices.

SETTING: UK general practices enrolled in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (1 January 2000 to 31 March 2006).

PARTICIPANTS: Development sample included 340 practices containing 15 159 newly diagnosed COPD cases and 28 296 controls (mean age 70 years, 52% male). Validation sample included 2259 cases and 4196 controls (mean age 70 years, 50% male).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Area under the receiver operator characteristic curve (c statistic), sensitivity and specificity in the validation practices.

RESULTS: The model included four variables including smoking status, history of asthma, and lower respiratory tract infections and prescription of salbutamol in the previous 3 years. It had a high average c statistic of 0.85 (95% CI 0.83 to 0.86) and yielded a sensitivity of 63.2% (95% CI 63.1 to 63.3) and specificity 87.4% (95% CI 87.3 to 87.5).

CONCLUSIONS: Risk factors associated with COPD and routinely recorded in primary care have been used to develop and externally validate a new COPD risk score. This could be used to target patients for case finding.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000060
JournalBMJ Open Respiratory Research
Issue number1
Early online date27 Mar 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Mar 2015