Étudiante-chercheuse étoile April 2016

Laura Labonté

PhD student in Experimental Medicine
McGill University

Award-winning publication: Undiagnosed COPD Contributes to the Burden of Health Care Utilization: Data from the CanCOLD Study

Published in: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine


In Canada, many cases of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) go undiagnosed. People who experience acute respiratory problems often end up in emergency wards—visits that rarely lead to a COPD diagnosis. Patients therefore do not receive the treatment they need and will eventually pay more visits to hospitals. Laura Labonté's research reveals that, over the long term, undiagnosed individuals require more health care and services than diagnosed patients. COPD would have a lesser burden on the health system if it were more efficiently diagnosed. At-risk individuals (smokers, adults over 40) could therefore be given a spirometry test (breathing into a tube to measure the amount of air and the speed at which it is released) as part of primary care services, which could lower the costs for the health system, most notably by curtailing the number of hospital stays.