Clinical Characterization and Treatment Patterns for the Frequent Exacerbator Phenotype in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease with Severe or Very Severe Airflow Limitation

Francesco Blasi, Luca Neri, Stefano Centanni, Franco Falcone, Giuseppe Di Maria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients experiencing several episodes of acute clinical derangement suffer from increased morbidity, mortality, and accelerated decline in lung function. Nevertheless, the relationship between co-morbidity profile and exacerbation rates in the frequent exacerbator phenotype is poorly characterized, and evidence-based management guidelines are lacking. We sought to evaluate the co-morbidity profile and treatment patterns of “frequent exacerbators” with severe or very severe airflow limitation. We conducted a cross-sectional, multicenter study in 50 Italian hospitals. Pulmonologists abstracted clinical information from medical charts of 743 COPD frequent exacerbators. We evaluated the exacerbation risk and center-related variations in diagnostic testing. One-third of patients (n = 210) underwent a bronchodilator response test, and 163 (22%) received a computerized tomography (CT) scan; 35 had a partial response to bronchodilators, while 119 had a diagnosis of emphysema; 584 (79%) lacked sufficient diagnostic testing for classification. Only 17% of patients did not have any coexistent disease. Cardiovascular conditions were the most frequent co-morbidities. A history of heart failure [odds ratio (OR): 1.89; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.48–2.3] and affective disorders (OR: 1.66; 95% CI 1.24–2.1) was associated with the frequency of exacerbations. Center membership was strongly associated with exacerbation risk, independent of casemix (variance partition coefficient = 29.6%). Examining the regional variation in health outcomes and health care behavior may help identify the best practices, especially when evidence-based recommendations are lacking and uncertainties surround clinical decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalCOPD: Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Sep 15 2016

Keywords

  • Coexistent diseases
  • COPD
  • epidemiology
  • frequent exacerbator phenotype
  • treatment pattern

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine

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