Acute Exacerbation of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in Oldest Adults: Predictors of In-Hospital Mortality and Need for Post-acute Care

Francesco Spannella, Federico Giulietti, Guido Cocci, Laura Landi, Francesca Elena Lombardi, Elisabetta Borioni, Alessandra Cenci, Piero Giordano, Riccardo Sarzani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Older age is associated with higher risk of death during acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AE-COPD). Older patients hospitalized for AE-COPD often require post-acute care after acute phase. The aim of this study was to evaluate components of a comprehensive geriatric assessment and clinical/laboratory parameters, in order to find predictors of in-hospital mortality and need for post-acute care in patients aged 80 and older hospitalized for AE-COPD. Design: Prospective observational study. Setting: Hospital assessment. Participants: 121 patients consecutively admitted to an internal medicine and geriatrics department for AE-COPD. Measures: Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Hierarchy scale, Geriatric Index of Comorbidity, cognitive impairment, and clinical and laboratory parameters were collected. Results: Mean age: 87.0 ± 4.9 years; male: 54.5%. In-hospital mortality (18.2% of patients) was significantly associated with functional disability, high comorbidity, cognitive impairment, anemia, older age, lower albumin, higher N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and white blood cell levels, oral corticosteroids taken before admission, and no angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers taken before admission. In a stepwise logistic regression, functional dependence (P =.006), cognitive impairment (P =.038), and oral corticosteroids therapy before hospitalization (P =.035) were independently associated with a higher risk of in-hospital mortality. Among laboratory parameters, only NT-proBNP remained significantly associated with in-hospital mortality (P =.026). The need for post-acute care (18.2% of survivors) was associated with older age, higher admission PCO2, greater comorbidity, and cognitive impairment. In a stepwise logistic regression, only cognitive impairment (P =.016) and ln_PCO2 (P =.056) confirmed their association with the need for post-acute care. Conclusions/implications: Preadmission functional dependence, cognitive impairment, and corticosteroid use, plus elevated NT-proBNP at admission are risk factors for mortality during an AE-COPD in the oldest old. Therefore, medical providers should consider these, as well as the patient's advance directives, in planning hospital care. Furthermore, providers should arrange especially careful posthospitalization monitoring and frequent follow-up of individuals with cognitive impairment and baseline hypercapnia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)893-898
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2019


  • cognitive impairment
  • COPD exacerbation
  • disability
  • in-hospital mortality
  • NT-proBNP
  • older adults
  • post-acute care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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