Effects of chronic airway disease on health status of geriatric patients

Raffaele Antonelli Incalzi, Riccardo Pistelli, Claudio Imperiale, Filippo Catalano, Nicola Scichilone, Vincenzo Bellia, F. Rengo, V. Grassi, S. Maggi, G. Masotti, G. Melillo, D. Olivieri, M. Palleschi, R. Pistelli, M. Trabucchi, S. Zuccaro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and aims: The impact of chronic airway disease on the health status of elderly patients is only to some extent explained by indexes of airflow limitation. The present study was designed to assess to what extent: 1) asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic bronchitis with normal FEV1 (simple bronchitis) differ in their impact on health status; 2) health status depends upon non-respiratory factors. Methods: A total of 1601 outpatients over 65 - 198 with asthma, 228 with COPD, 91 with simple bronchitis, and 1084 with non-respiratory illnesses (control group) - were studied by collection of five health status indexes and multidimensional assessment. Discriminant analysis was used to identify health status profiles of groups. Demographic, anthropometric, clinical and respiratory function correlates of selected health status profiles were identified. Results: Only 26 and 28% of asthma and COPD patients vs 43% of simple bronchitis and 50% of non-respiratory patients showed group-specific health status profiles. These profiles were characterized by lower 6-min walked distance and greater index of disturbed sleep in asthmatics, and by worse performance on Barthel Index, 6-min walking test and Mini-Mental State Examination in COPD patients. More severe bronchial obstruction, a greater index of comorbidity and a longer occiput-wall distance characterized COPD patients with the worst health status. Conclusions: The health status of elderly patients with COPD or asthma is highly heterogeneous. On average, COPD is characterized by more severe physical impairment, and asthma by poorer quality of sleep. Comorbidity and severity of bronchial obstruction, but not age, contribute toward defining a subset of COPD patients with the worst health status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2004


  • Asthma
  • Comorbidity
  • COPD
  • Elderly
  • Health status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing


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