Risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Collaborative assessment of the validity of the Tecumseh index of risk

M. W. Higgins, J. B. Keller, J. R. Landis, T. H. Beaty, B. Burrows, D. Demets, J. E. Diem, I. T. Higgins, E. Lakatos, M. D. Lebowitz

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36 Scopus citations


Predictors of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have been identified in the prospective epidemiologic study of the population of Tecumseh, Michigan. Risk of developing COPD within 10 yr can be estimated from a profile that includes as risk factors age, sex, cigarette smoking habits, and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1). The index of risk placed 63% of male incidence cases and 64% of female incidence cases in the top 10% of the risk distribution and 81% of male and 86% of female COPD cases in the top 20% of the risk distribution for Tecumseh. The validity of the Tecumseh index of risk for other populations was determined in a collaborative investigation of data collected in longitudinal epidemiologic studies in Baltimore, Boston, Framingham, Louisiana, Staveley, and Tucson. The extent to which the risk model fitted these data sets was assessed by comparing predicted (or expected) onsets of COPD in each population with observations made in each study. The predictors of COPD identified in Tecumseh were shown to be the most important risk factors in the other populations as well. The goodness-of-fit of the index was satisfactory overall. In all populations, a high risk score was associated with an increased incidence of COPD, thus confirming the predictive ability of the risk index. The Tecumseh index of risk provides a practical method for developing a risk profile from answers to standard questions and simple tests of lung function. Risks are greatest for heavy cigarette smokers with reduced lung function, lower in smokers who stop smoking or reduce their cigarette consumption, and lowest of all in nonsmokers with above average lung function. Because cigarette smoking is the principal remediable risk factor, ability to identify high-risk men and women means that antismoking advice to the general public can be combined with a more vigorous approach to susceptible persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-385
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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