TUESDAY, June 20, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. patients battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) need better diagnosis and treatment, a large new study finds.
COPD includes serious, sometimes fatal, respiratory illnesses such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
According to guidelines from the American College of Physicians and American College of Chest Physicians, there are five elements of care that are recommended as "ideal care" for COPD patients.
The study in the June 20 Annals of Internal Medicine found that of almost 70,000 hospitalized patients with COPD, only one-third received that level of ideal care.
Researchers noted a drastic difference in level of care at each of the hospitals studied. At some hospitals, fewer than 10 percent of patients were given ideal care, while more than 60 percent of patients at other hospitals received ideal care.
The study indicates the need for higher utilization of recommended tests and treatments for patients with COPD and eliminating unnecessary ones. This would improve the level of care across health care institutions, the authors noted.
For more on COPD, head to the American Lung Association.