Recent publication on non-smoking COPD

We recently had the pleasure of assisting with the publication of a recent epidemiological study in Respirology: “The prevalence and patient characteristics of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in non-smokers in Vietnam and Indonesia: An observational survey”.

Dr Nguyen Viet Nhung, Director of the National Lung Hospital and the National Tuberculosis Program in Vietnam, and co-workers found that COPD may be significantly under-diagnosed in non-smokers in Vietnam and Indonesia.

Despite being the major risk factor for COPD, an estimated 25-40% of patients with COPD have never smoked. Exposure to indoor pollutants from burning biomass fuels for cooking and heating is another important risk factor. This population-based cross-sectional survey of 1506 non-smokers over 40 years old from rural and urban Vietnam and Indonesia found a COPD prevalence of 6.9%. COPD prevalence was higher in Vietnam than Indonesia, particularly in urban Vietnam (11.1%). COPD may be significantly under-diagnosed in the general populations of these countries as only 6% of participants with COPD had been previously diagnosed.