The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2000 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Patient and Physician Motivation and Outcomes in the National Lung Health Education Program (NLHEP)

Thomas L. Petty, MD, FAARC University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, Colorado

The NLHEP is a new national healthcare initiative aimed at the early identification of COPD and related disorders. The success of the NLHEP depends upon patient access to simple spirometric testing. The NLHEP recommends spirometric testing in all smokers over age 45. It also recommends spirometric testing inpatients at any age with chronic cough, inappropriate dyspnea, wheeze, or mucus hypersection. Both physicians and patient compliance to these recommendations is key to finding patients with early stages of COPD.
Finding patients with abnormalities is the first key toward intervention. The key to intervention is smoking cessation. Individuals who are already abnormal must not procrastinate about smoking cessation. Using smoking cessation strategies, including picking a quit date and employing pharmacological agents to mitigate nicotine withdrawal, is necessary. Recedivism is common. Strategies to succeed in smoking cessation and to mitigate losses of ventilatory function over time are needed to prevent and to forestall premature morbidity and mortality from COPD.

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