Research Impacts - Studies

Breathless in America: National Survey of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Release Date: 1/1/2002
It affects twice as many Americans as diabetes and is the nation's fourth leading cause of death. Yet surprisingly little is known about how chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, is viewed by patients and doctors. Confronting COPD in America, the most comprehensive US survey ever done on the disease, sheds a much-needed light on a disease that is taking a tremendous toll on millions of Americans.

The survey findings are based on telephone interviews with national probability samples of patients and physicians. Patients with COPD are operationally defined for this survey as persons aged 45 or older who have been diagnosed with COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or who met stringent symptom criteria for undiagnosed chronic bronchitis (i.e., a minimum of three months of chronic coughing with phlegm/sputum from the chest for at least two years).

A total of 573 persons with COPD were interviewed in the survey. This sample was identified by systematically screening a geographically stratified, random digit dialing sample of 26,880 households in the United States. National probability samples of two physician populations were also interviewed for the survey: physicians in direct patient care on an outpatient basis in adult primary care specialties (n=100); and pulmonary specialists in direct patient care on an outpatient basis.

The survey was conducted by Schulman, Ronca and Bucuvalas, Inc. (SRBI) for GlaxoSmithKline, a research based pharmaceutical company. Its findings are supported by several leading respiratory organizations, including the American Lung Association, American College of Chest Physicians, National Lung Health Education Program and American Association of Respiratory Care.