Respiratory disorders such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Bronchial Asthma are major causes of morbidity and mortality globally. Late and/or under-diagnosis of these common conditions pose a great challenge at present and this is especially the case at the primary healthcare level. To facilitate early diagnosis of COPD, the Global Initiative for Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) has championed the use of spirometry, especially in the community and primary care. The GOLD Report posits that spirometry is “required to make the diagnosis” of COPD.1 Likewise, spirometry is also a useful adjunct supporting asthma diagnosis.2 Nonetheless, the use of and accessibility to spirometry remain low, despite robust support from national and international guidelines for its diagnostic role in the management of obstructive airway disease. Furthermore, over the past 2 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly vitiated our efforts to advance the use of spirometry, with many test centers reducing the conduct of lung function testing due to its high aerosol-generating potential.3
In line with promoting the use of spirometry in primary care, and in support of the current ‘safe re-opening’ process of healthcare resource utilization, our Association, in conjunction with Smartfuture Pte Ltd, and with the support of AstraZeneca (Singapore) is introducing a novel initiative: “Spirometry-at-home – a program to improve diagnosis of asthma & COPD” in primary healthcare in Singapore. This innovative program is to assist general practitioners in obtaining accurate and reproducible results of spirometry tests performed in the isolation and comfort of their patients’ residences.
We hope this program will benefit patients with obstructive airway disorders in the community by providing them with timely evaluation of their condition for conjoint management with their healthcare professionals. We look forward to the support of primary care doctors in utlilizing spirometry for case-finding and optimal management of patients with obstructive airway disorders.
Dr Ong Kian Chung
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Association (Singapore)
1. 2022 GOLD Reports - Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease - GOLD (goldcopd.org)
2. GINA Full Report 2021 Front Cover ONLY (ginasthma.org)
3. Saunders MJ, Haynes JM, McCormack MC, Stanojevic S, Kaminsky DA. How Local SARS-CoV-2 Prevalence Shapes Pulmonary Function Testing Laboratory Protocols and Practices During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Chest. 2021 Oct;160(4):1241-1244. doi: 10.1016/j.chest.2021.05.011. Epub 2021 May 15. PMID: 34004155; PMCID: PMC8123530.