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1.  Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Using an Ontario Policy Model 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-Term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic inflammation throughout the airways, parenchyma, and pulmonary vasculature. The inflammation causes repeated cycles of injury and repair in the airway wall— inflammatory cells release a variety of chemicals and lead to cellular damage. The inflammation process also contributes to the loss of elastic recoil pressure in the lung, thereby reducing the driving pressure for expiratory flow through narrowed and poorly supported airways, in which airflow resistance is significantly increased. Expiratory flow limitation is the pathophysiological hallmark of COPD.
Exacerbations of COPD contribute considerably to morbidity and mortality, and impose a burden on the health care system. They are a leading cause of emergency room visits and hospitalizations, particularly in the winter. In Canada, the reported average cost for treating a moderate exacerbation is $641; for a major exacerbation, the cost is $10,086.
Objective
The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of the following interventions in moderate to very severe COPD, investigated in the Medical Advisory Secretariat Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis Series:
smoking cessation programs in moderate COPD in an outpatient setting:
– intensive counselling (IC) versus usual care (UC)
– nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) versus UC
– IC + NRT versus placebo
– bupropion versus placebo
multidisciplinary care (MDC) teams versus UC in moderate to severe COPD in an outpatient setting
pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) versus UC following acute exacerbations in moderate to severe COPD
long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) versus UC in severe hypoxemia in COPD in an outpatient setting
ventilation:
– noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) + usual medical care versus usual medical care in acute respiratory failure due to an acute exacerbation in severe COPD in an inpatient setting
– weaning with NPPV versus weaning with invasive mechanical ventilation in acute respiratory failure due to an acute exacerbation in very severe COPD in an inpatient setting
Methods
A cost-utility analysis was conducted using a Markov probabilistic model. The model consists of different health states based on the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease COPD severity classification. Patients were assigned different costs and utilities depending on their severity health state during each model cycle. In addition to moving between health states, patients were at risk of acute exacerbations of COPD in each model cycle. During each cycle, patients could have no acute exacerbation, a minor acute exacerbation, or a major exacerbation. For the purposes of the model, a major exacerbation was defined as one that required hospitalization. Patients were assigned different costs and utilities in each model cycle, depending on whether they experienced an exacerbation, and its severity.
Starting cohorts reflected the various patient populations from the trials analyzed. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs)—that is, costs per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY)—were estimated for each intervention using clinical parameters and summary estimates of relative risks of (re)hospitalization, as well as mortality and abstinence rates, from the COPD mega-analysis evidence-based analyses.
A budget impact analysis was also conducted to project incremental costs already being incurred or resources already in use in Ontario. Using provincial data, medical literature, and expert opinion, health system impacts were calculated for the strategies investigated.
All costs are reported in Canadian dollars.
Results
All smoking cessation programs were dominant (i.e., less expensive and more effective overall). Assuming a base case cost of $1,041 and $1,527 per patient for MDC and PR, the ICER was calculated to be $14,123 per QALY and $17,938 per QALY, respectively. When the costs of MDC and PR were varied in a 1-way sensitivity analysis to reflect variation in resource utilization reported in the literature, the ICER increased to $55,322 per QALY and $56,270 per QALY, respectively. Assuming a base case cost of $2,261 per year per patient for LTOT as reported by data from the Ontario provincial program, the ICER was calculated to be $38,993 per QALY. Ventilation strategies were dominant (i.e., cheaper and more effective), as reflected by the clinical evidence of significant in-hospital days avoided in the study group.
Ontario currently pays for IC through physician billing (translating to a current burden of $8 million) and bupropion through the Ontario Drug Benefit program (translating to a current burden of almost $2 million). The burden of NRT was projected to be $10 million, with future expenditures of up to $1 million in Years 1 to 3 for incident cases.
Ontario currently pays for some chronic disease management programs. Based on the most recent Family Health Team data, the costs of MDC programs to manage COPD were estimated at $85 million in fiscal year 2010, with projected future expenditures of up to $51 million for incident cases, assuming the base case cost of the program. However, this estimate does not accurately reflect the current costs to the province because of lack of report by Family Health Teams, lack of capture of programs outside this model of care by any data set in the province, and because the resource utilization and frequency of visits/follow-up phone calls were based on the findings in the literature rather than the actual Family Health Team COPD management programs in place in Ontario. Therefore, MDC resources being utilized in the province are unknown and difficult to measure.
Data on COPD-related hospitalizations were pulled from Ontario administrative data sets and based on consultation with experts. Half of hospitalized patients will access PR resources at least once, and half of these will repeat the therapy, translating to a potential burden of $17 million to $32 million, depending on the cost of the program. These resources are currently being absorbed, but since utilization is not being captured by any data set in the province, it is difficult to quantify and estimate. Provincial programs may be under-resourced, and patients may not be accessing these services effectively.
Data from the LTOT provincial program (based on fiscal year 2006 information) suggested that the burden was $65 million, with potential expenditures of up to $0.2 million in Years 1 to 3 for incident cases.
From the clinical evidence on ventilation (i.e., reduction in length of stay in hospital), there were potential cost savings to the hospitals of $42 million and $12 million for NPPV and weaning with NPPV, respectively, if the study intervention were adopted. Future cost savings were projected to be up to $4 million and $1 million, respectively, for incident cases.
Conclusions
Currently, costs for most of these interventions are being absorbed by provider services, the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, the Assistive Devices Program, and the hospital global budget. The most cost-effective intervention for COPD will depend on decision-makers’ willingness to pay. Lack of provincial data sets capturing resource utilization for the various interventions poses a challenge for estimating current burden and future expenditures.
PMCID: PMC3384363  PMID: 23074422
2.  Risk factors for acute exacerbations of COPD in a primary care population: a retrospective observational cohort study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(12):e006171.
Objectives
To evaluate risk factors associated with exacerbation frequency in primary care. Information on exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has mainly been generated by secondary care-based clinical cohorts.
Design
Retrospective observational cohort study.
Setting
Electronic medical records database (England and Wales).
Participants
58 589 patients with COPD aged ≥40 years with COPD diagnosis recorded between 1 April 2009 and 30 September 2012, and with at least 365 days of follow-up before and after the COPD diagnosis, were identified in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink. Mean age: 69 years; 47% female; mean forced expiratory volume in 1s 60% predicted.
Outcome measures
Data on moderate or severe exacerbation episodes defined by diagnosis and/or medication codes 12 months following cohort entry were retrieved, together with demographic and clinical characteristics. Associations between patient characteristics and odds of having none versus one, none versus frequent (≥2) and one versus frequent exacerbations over 12 months follow-up were evaluated using multivariate logistic regression models.
Results
During follow-up, 23% of patients had evidence of frequent moderate-to-severe COPD exacerbations (24% one; 53% none). Independent predictors of increased odds of having exacerbations during the follow-up, either frequent episodes or one episode, included prior exacerbations, increasing dyspnoea score, increasing grade of airflow limitation, females and prior or current history of several comorbidities (eg, asthma, depression, anxiety, heart failure and cancer).
Conclusions
Primary care-managed patients with COPD at the highest risk of exacerbations can be identified by exploring medical history for the presence of prior exacerbations, greater COPD disease severity and co-occurrence of other medical conditions.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006171
PMCID: PMC4275672  PMID: 25524545
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; database; electronic medical records; exacerbations; PRIMARY CARE
3.  Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this evidence-based analysis was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of multidisciplinary care (MDC) compared with usual care (UC, single health care provider) for the treatment of stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a progressive disorder with episodes of acute exacerbations associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Cigarette smoking is linked causally to COPD in more than 80% of cases. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is among the most common chronic diseases worldwide and has an enormous impact on individuals, families, and societies through reduced quality of life and increased health resource utilization and mortality.
The estimated prevalence of COPD in Ontario in 2007 was 708,743 persons.
Technology
Multidisciplinary care involves professionals from a range of disciplines, working together to deliver comprehensive care that addresses as many of the patient’s health care and psychosocial needs as possible.
Two variables are inherent in the concept of a multidisciplinary team: i) the multidisciplinary components such as an enriched knowledge base and a range of clinical skills and experiences, and ii) the team components, which include but are not limited to, communication and support measures. However, the most effective number of team members and which disciplines should comprise the team for optimal effect is not yet known.
Research Question
What is the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of MDC compared with UC (single health care provider) for the treatment of stable COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on July 19, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, OVID MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Wiley Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination database, for studies published from January 1, 1995 until July 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search.
Inclusion Criteria
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, or randomized controlled trials
studies published between January 1995 and July 2010;
COPD study population
studies comparing MDC (2 or more health care disciplines participating in care) compared with UC (single health care provider)
Exclusion Criteria
grey literature
duplicate publications
non-English language publications
study population less than 18 years of age
Outcomes of Interest
hospital admissions
emergency department (ED) visits
mortality
health-related quality of life
lung function
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed, taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Six randomized controlled trials were obtained from the literature search. Four of the 6 studies were completed in the United States. The sample size of the 6 studies ranged from 40 to 743 participants, with a mean study sample between 66 and 71 years of age. Only 2 studies characterized the study sample in terms of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) COPD stage criteria, and in general the description of the study population in the other 4 studies was limited. The mean percent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (% predicted FEV1) among study populations was between 32% and 59%. Using this criterion, 3 studies included persons with severe COPD and 2 with moderate COPD. Information was not available to classify the population in the sixth study.
Four studies had MDC treatment groups which included a physician. All studies except 1 reported a respiratory specialist (i.e., respiratory therapist, specialist nurse, or physician) as part of the multidisciplinary team. The UC group was comprised of a single health care practitioner who may or may not have been a respiratory specialist.
A meta-analysis was completed for 5 of the 7 outcome measures of interest including:
health-related quality of life,
lung function,
all-cause hospitalization,
COPD-specific hospitalization, and
mortality.
There was only 1 study contributing to the outcome of all-cause and COPD-specific ED visits which precluded pooling data for these outcomes. Subgroup analyses were not completed either because heterogeneity was not significant or there were a small number of studies that were meta-analysed for the outcome.
Quality of Life
Three studies reported results of quality of life assessment based on the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ). A mean decrease in the SGRQ indicates an improvement in quality of life while a mean increase indicates deterioration in quality of life. In all studies the mean change score from baseline to the end time point in the MDC treatment group showed either an improvement compared with the control group or less deterioration compared with the control group. The mean difference in change scores between MDC and UC groups was statistically significant in all 3 studies. The pooled weighted mean difference in total SGRQ score was −4.05 (95% confidence interval [CI], −6.47 to 1.63; P = 0.001). The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as low for this outcome.
Lung Function
Two studies reported results of the FEV1 % predicted as a measure of lung function. A negative change from baseline infers deterioration in lung function and a positive change from baseline infers an improvement in lung function. The MDC group showed a statistically significant improvement in lung function up to 12 months compared with the UC group (P = 0.01). However this effect is not maintained at 2-year follow-up (P = 0.24). The pooled weighted mean difference in FEV1 percent predicted was 2.78 (95% CI, −1.82 to −7.37). The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as very low for this outcome indicating that an estimate of effect is uncertain.
Hospital Admissions
All-Cause
Four studies reported results of all-cause hospital admissions in terms of number of persons with at least 1 admission during the follow-up period. Estimates from these 4 studies were pooled to determine a summary estimate. There is a statistically significant 25% relative risk (RR) reduction in all-cause hospitalizations in the MDC group compared with the UC group (P < 0.001). The index of heterogeneity (I2) value is 0%, indicating no statistical heterogeneity between studies. The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as moderate for this outcome, indicating that further research may change the estimate of effect.
COPD-Specific Hospitalization
Three studies reported results of COPD-specific hospital admissions in terms of number of persons with at least 1 admission during the follow-up period. Estimates from these 3 studies were pooled to determine a summary estimate. There is a statistically significant 33% RR reduction in all-cause hospitalizations in the MDC group compared with the UC group (P = 0.002). The I2 value is 0%, indicating no statistical heterogeneity between studies. The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as moderate for this outcome, indicating that further research may change the estimate of effect.
Emergency Department Visits
All-Cause
Two studies reported results of all-cause ED visits in terms of number of persons with at least 1 visit during the follow-up period. There is a statistically nonsignificant reduction in all-cause ED visits when data from these 2 studies are pooled (RR, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.31 to −1.33; P = 0.24). The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as very low for this outcome indicating that an estimate of effect is uncertain.
COPD-Specific
One study reported results of COPD-specific ED visits in terms of number of persons with at least 1 visit during the follow-up period. There is a statistically significant 41% reduction in COPD-specific ED visits when the data from these 2 studies are pooled (RR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.43−0.81; P < 0.001). The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as moderate for this outcome.
Mortality
Three studies reported the mortality during the study follow-up period. Estimates from these 3 studies were pooled to determine a summary estimate. There is a statistically nonsignificant reduction in mortality between treatment groups (RR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.52−1.27; P = 0.36). The I2 value is 19%, indicating low statistical heterogeneity between studies. All studies had a 12-month follow-up period. The GRADE quality of evidence was assessed as low for this outcome.
Conclusions
Significant effect estimates with moderate quality of evidence were found for all-cause hospitalization, COPD-specific hospitalization, and COPD-specific ED visits (Table ES1). A significant estimate with low quality evidence was found for the outcome of quality of life (Table ES2). All other outcome measures were nonsignificant and supported by low or very low quality of evidence.
Summary of Dichotomous Data
Abbreviations: CI, confidence intervals; COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; n, number.
Summary of Continuous Data
Abbreviations: CI, confidence intervals; FEV1, forced expiratory volume in 1 second; n, number; SGRQ, St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire.
PMCID: PMC3384374  PMID: 23074433
4.  Predictors of ICS/LABA prescribing in COPD patients: a study from general practice 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:42.
Background
A combination of inhaled corticosteroid and long-acting beta2 agonist (ICS/LABA) is used frequently to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients. The aim of the study was to determine whether prescribing ICS/LABA to COPD patients in primary care in 2009/10 was within the GOLD guidelines and whether and to what degree patient characteristics were associated with prescription of these drugs by GPs.
Methods
This was a cross-sectional study in seven Norwegian GP practices. Patients registered with a diagnosis of asthma or COPD in the previous five years were included.
Results
Among the 376 patients included in the analysis, 149 patients had COPD, defined as a post-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC <0.7 and 55.6% of these patients were treated with ICS/LABA. The rate of prescribing was significantly higher in the COPD patients also diagnosed with asthma than in those with COPD as the only diagnosis, 66.7%, and 39.0%, respectively (P = 0.001). The prescribing rate in the latter subgroup would have been 18.6% if the 2007 GOLD guidelines had been followed. One or more exacerbations in the previous year was the strongest predictor of ICS/LABA prescribing in the COPD patients who were not registered with a concomitant diagnosis of asthma (OR 3.2, 95% CI 1.0–10.0) but this association was limited to the patients with severe disease (FEV1% predicted <50) (OR 13.5, 95% CI 1.8–101.1). Cardiovascular disease was associated with decreased ICS/LABA prescribing (OR 0.4, 95% CI 0.2–0.8) in the COPD group. A Kappa coefficient of 0.32 was found between the actual prescribing rate and that recommended in the 2007 GOLD guidelines.
Conclusions
Overprescribing of ICS/LABA for the COPD patients was shown. Previous exacerbation was a strong predictor of ICS/LABA prescribing only in patients with severe COPD. Because of the low emphasis on previous exacerbation when prescribing for COPD patients with mild to moderate disease, the actual prescribing rate agreed more closely with the GOLD guidelines from 2007 than with those published in 2011. Cardiovascular disease was associated with decreased prescribing, indicating that GPs adjust the treatment in cases with multimorbidity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-42
PMCID: PMC3983887  PMID: 24597538
Prescription; Adrenergic beta2 agonists; Corticosteroids; COPD; Primary care
5.  Impact of self-reported Gastroesophageal reflux disease in subjects from COPDGene cohort 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):62.
Background
The coexistence of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and COPD has been recognized, but there has been no comprehensive evaluation of the impact of GERD on COPD-related health status and patient-centered outcomes.
Methods
Cross-sectional and longitudinal study of 4,483 participants in the COPDGene cohort who met GOLD criteria for COPD. Physician-diagnosed GERD was ascertained by questionnaire. Clinical features, spirometry and imaging were compared between COPD subjects without versus with GERD. We evaluated the relationship between GERD and symptoms, exacerbations and markers of microaspiration in univariate and multivariate models. Associations were additionally tested for the confounding effect of covariates associated with a diagnosis of GERD and the use of proton-pump inhibitor medications (PPIs). To determine whether GERD is simply a marker for the presence of other conditions independently associated with worse COPD outcomes, we also tested models incorporating a GERD propensity score.
Results
GERD was reported by 29% of subjects with female predominance. Subjects with GERD were more likely to have chronic bronchitis symptoms, higher prevalence of prior cardiovascular events (combined myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease and stroke 21.3% vs. 13.4.0%, p < 0.0001). Subjects with GERD also had more severe dyspnea (MMRC score 2.2 vs. 1.8, p < 0.0001), and poorer quality of life (QOL) scores (St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) total score 41.8 vs. 34.9, p < 0.0001; SF36 Physical Component Score 38.2 vs. 41.4, p < 0.0001). In multivariate models, a significant relationship was detected between GERD and SGRQ (3.4 points difference, p < 0.001) and frequent exacerbations at baseline (≥2 exacerbation per annum at inclusion OR 1.40, p = 0.006). During a mean follow-up time of two years, GERD was also associated with frequent (≥2/year exacerbations OR 1.40, p = 0.006), even in models in which PPIs, GERD-PPI interactions and a GERD propensity score were included. PPI use was associated with frequent exacerbator phenotype, but did not meaningfully influence the GERD-exacerbation association.
Conclusions
In COPD the presence of physician-diagnosed GERD is associated with increased symptoms, poorer QOL and increased frequency of exacerbations at baseline and during follow-up. These associations are maintained after controlling for PPI use. The PPI-exacerbations association could result from confounding-by-indication.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-15-62
PMCID: PMC4049804  PMID: 24894541
COPD; Gastroesophageal reflux; Comorbidity; Exacerbations; Quality-of-life; Chronic bronchitis
6.  Reduction of exacerbation frequency in patients with COPD after participation in a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program 
Background
Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) is an important treatment option for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients and might contribute to a reduction in exacerbation and exacerbation-related hospitalization rate.
Methods
In this prospective study, all COPD patients that completed a comprehensive pulmonary rehabilitation program (PRP) between June 2006 and December 2012 were included. Self-reported exacerbation and hospitalization frequency 1 year before PR was retrospectively recorded. During the year following PR, exacerbation and hospitalization frequency was recorded with questionnaires.
Results
For 343 patients, complete information on exacerbation and hospitalization rate was obtained. The mean number of exacerbations decreased significantly after participating in a PRP by 1.37 exacerbations/year (95% confidence interval 1.029 to 1.717) from 4.56±3.26 exacerbations in the year preceding PR to 3.18±2.53 in the year following PR (P<0.0005). The number of hospitalizations due to exacerbations decreased significantly by 0.68 hospitalizations/year (95% confidence interval 0.467 to 0.903) from 1.48±1.84 in the year preceding PR to 0.80±1.31 hospitalizations/year in the year following PR (P<0.0005). The proportion of patients with a frequent exacerbation type (more than two exacerbations/year) was reduced by 24%. Multivariate regression analysis to explore determinants that might predict reduction in exacerbation frequency or change in exacerbation pattern did not reveal clinically useful predictors, although patients with more exacerbations before PR had the highest potential for reduction.
Conclusion
In a large population of severely impaired COPD patients with high exacerbation rates, a significant reduction in exacerbation and hospitalization frequency was observed after participation in a comprehensive PRP.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S69574
PMCID: PMC4199855  PMID: 25336938
health status; health care utilization; hospitalization; disease management; self-management
7.  Pulmonary Arterial Enlargement and Acute Exacerbations of COPD 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(10):913-921.
BACKGROUND
Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are associated with accelerated loss of lung function and death. Identification of patients at risk for these events, particularly those requiring hospitalization, is of major importance. Severe pulmonary hypertension is an important complication of advanced COPD and predicts acute exacerbations, though pulmonary vascular abnormalities also occur early in the course of the disease. We hypothesized that a computed tomographic (CT) metric of pulmonary vascular disease (pulmonary artery enlargement, as determined by a ratio of the diameter of the pulmonary artery to the diameter of the aorta [PA:A ratio] of >1) would be associated with severe COPD exacerbations.
METHODS
We conducted a multicenter, observational trial that enrolled current and former smokers with COPD. We determined the association between a PA:A ratio of more than 1 and a history at enrollment of severe exacerbations requiring hospitalization and then examined the usefulness of the ratio as a predictor of these events in a longitudinal follow-up of this cohort, as well as in an external validation cohort. We used logistic-regression and zero-inflated negative binomial regression analyses and adjusted for known risk factors for exacerbation.
RESULTS
Multivariate logistic-regression analysis showed a significant association between a PA:A ratio of more than 1 and a history of severe exacerbations at the time of enrollment in the trial (odds ratio, 4.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.43 to 6.65; P<0.001). A PA:A ratio of more than 1 was also independently associated with an increased risk of future severe exacerbations in both the trial cohort (odds ratio, 3.44; 95% CI, 2.78 to 4.25; P<0.001) and the external validation cohort (odds ratio, 2.80; 95% CI, 2.11 to 3.71; P<0.001). In both cohorts, among all the variables analyzed, a PA:A ratio of more than 1 had the strongest association with severe exacerbations.
CONCLUSIONS
Pulmonary artery enlargement (a PA:A ratio of >1), as detected by CT, was associated with severe exacerbations of COPD. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00608764 and NCT00292552.)
doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1203830
PMCID: PMC3690810  PMID: 22938715
8.  Predictors of exacerbation frequency in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Background
Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are sporadic, acute worsening of symptoms. Identifying predictors of exacerbation frequency may facilitate medical interventions that reduce exacerbation frequency and severity. The objective of this study was to determine predictors of exacerbation frequency and mortality.
Methods
A total of 227 COPD patients were enrolled in a prospective clinical study between January 2000 and December 2011. Reported exacerbations were recorded for the year preceding enrollment and annually thereafter, and patients were grouped by median annual exacerbation frequency into those experiencing infrequent exacerbations (less than one exacerbation annually) and frequent exacerbations (one or more exacerbation annually). Patients experiencing frequent exacerbations were further divided into those experiencing moderately frequent exacerbations (fewer than two exacerbations per year) and severely frequent exacerbations (two or more exacerbations per year). The rate of clinical relapse and survival was recorded over a 10-year period. The mean of follow-up time was 5.15 years per patient.
Results
For patients experiencing infrequent, moderately frequent, and severely frequent exacerbations, median exacerbations in the year preceding enrollment were 0.0, 0.5, 1.0, respectively, and more frequent exacerbations correlated with lower baseline forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (0.81 L, 0.75 L, and 0.66 L, respectively), higher comorbidity (70.7%, 75.0%, and 89.4%, respectively), and greater NPPV use during hospitalization (16.4%, 35.9% and 51.1%, respectively). FEV1 declined and mortality increased with increasing exacerbation frequency.
Conclusions
Exacerbation frequency can be used to generate discreet patient subpopulations, supporting the hypothesis that multiple COPD phenotypes exist and can be used in patient risk stratification.
doi:10.1186/2047-783X-19-18
PMCID: PMC4004527  PMID: 24713440
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Exacerbation; Forced expiratory volume; Comorbidity; Positive pressure ventilation
9.  Long-Term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this health technology assessment was to determine the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Oxygen therapy is used in patients with COPD with hypoxemia, or very low blood oxygen levels, because they may have difficulty obtaining sufficient oxygen from inspired air.
Technology
Long-term oxygen therapy is extended use of oxygen. Oxygen therapy is delivered as a gas from an oxygen source. Different oxygen sources are: 1) oxygen concentrators, electrical units delivering oxygen converted from room air; 2) liquid oxygen systems, which deliver gaseous oxygen stored as liquid in a tank; and 3) oxygen cylinders, which contain compressed gaseous oxygen. All are available in portable versions. Oxygen is breathed in through a nasal cannula or through a mask covering the mouth and nose. The treating clinician determines the flow rate, duration of use, method of administration, and oxygen source according to individual patient needs. Two landmark randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of patients with COPD established the role of LTOT in COPD. Questions regarding the use of LTOT, however, still remain.
Research Question
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of LTOT compared with no LTOT in patients with COPD, who are stratified by severity of hypoxemia?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on September 8, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, EMBASE, CINAHL, the Cochrane Library, and INAHTA for studies published from January 1, 2007 to September 8, 2010.
A single clinical epidemiologist reviewed the abstracts, obtained full-text articles for studies meeting the eligibility criteria, and examined reference lists for additional relevant studies not identified through the literature search. A second clinical epidemiologist and then a group of epidemiologists reviewed articles with an unknown eligibility until consensus was established.
Inclusion Criteria
patients with mild, moderate, or severe hypoxemia;
English-language articles published between January 1, 2007 and September 8, 2010;
journal articles reporting on effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, or safety for the comparison of interest;
clearly described study design and methods;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, RCTs, or prospective cohort observational studies;
any type of observational study for the evaluation of safety.
Exclusion Criteria
no hypoxemia
non-English papers
animal or in vitro studies
case reports, case series, or case-case studies
studies comparing different oxygen therapy regimens
studies on nocturnal oxygen therapy
studies on short-burst, palliative, or ambulatory oxygen (supplemental oxygen during exercise or activities of daily living)
Outcomes of Interest
mortality/survival
hospitalizations
readmissions
forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1)
forced vital capacity (FVC)
FEV1/FVC
pulmonary hypertension
arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2)
arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2)
end-exercise dyspnea score
endurance time
health-related quality of life
Note: Outcomes of interest were formulated according to existing studies, with arterial pressure of oxygen and carbon dioxide as surrogate outcomes.
Summary of Findings
Conclusions
Based on low quality of evidence, LTOT (~ 15 hours/day) decreases all-cause mortality in patients with COPD who have severe hypoxemia (PaO2 ~ 50 mm Hg) and heart failure.
The effect for all-cause mortality had borderline statistical significance when the control group was no LTOT: one study.
Based on low quality of evidence, there is no beneficial effect of LTOT on all-cause mortality at 3 and 7 years in patients with COPD who have mild-to-moderate hypoxemia (PaO2 ~ 59-65 mm Hg)1
Based on very low quality of evidence, there is some suggestion that LTOT may have a beneficial effect over time on FEV1 and PaCO2 in patients with COPD who have severe hypoxemia and heart failure: improved methods are needed.
Based on very low quality of evidence, there is no beneficial effect of LTOT on lung function or exercise factors in patients with COPD who have mild-to-moderate hypoxemia, whether survivors or nonsurvivors are assessed.
Based on low to very low quality of evidence, LTOT does not prevent readmissions in patients with COPD who have severe hypoxemia. Limited data suggest LTOT increases the risk of hospitalizations.
Limited work has been performed evaluating the safety of LTOT by severity of hypoxemia.
Based on low to very low quality of evidence, LTOT may have a beneficial effect over time on health-related quality of life in patients with COPD who have severe hypoxemia. Limited work using disease-specific instruments has been performed.
Ethical constraints of not providing LTOT to eligible patients with COPD prohibit future studies from examining LTOT outcomes in an ideal way.
PMCID: PMC3384376  PMID: 23074435
10.  Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this analysis was to compare hospital-at-home care with inpatient hospital care for patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) who present to the emergency department (ED).
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is a disease state characterized by airflow limitation that is not fully reversible. This airflow limitation is usually both progressive and associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases. The natural history of COPD involves periods of acute-onset worsening of symptoms, particularly increased breathlessness, cough, and/or sputum, that go beyond normal day-to-day variations; these are known as acute exacerbations.
Two-thirds of COPD exacerbations are caused by an infection of the tracheobronchial tree or by air pollution; the cause in the remaining cases is unknown. On average, patients with moderate to severe COPD experience 2 or 3 exacerbations each year.
Exacerbations have an important impact on patients and on the health care system. For the patient, exacerbations result in decreased quality of life, potentially permanent losses of lung function, and an increased risk of mortality. For the health care system, exacerbations of COPD are a leading cause of ED visits and hospitalizations, particularly in winter.
Technology
Hospital-at-home programs offer an alternative for patients who present to the ED with an exacerbation of COPD and require hospital admission for their treatment. Hospital-at-home programs provide patients with visits in their home by medical professionals (typically specialist nurses) who monitor the patients, alter patients’ treatment plans if needed, and in some programs, provide additional care such as pulmonary rehabilitation, patient and caregiver education, and smoking cessation counselling.
There are 2 types of hospital-at-home programs: admission avoidance and early discharge hospital-at-home. In the former, admission avoidance hospital-at-home, after patients are assessed in the ED, they are prescribed the necessary medications and additional care needed (e.g., oxygen therapy) and then sent home where they receive regular visits from a medical professional. In early discharge hospital-at-home, after being assessed in the ED, patients are admitted to the hospital where they receive the initial phase of their treatment. These patients are discharged into a hospital-at-home program before the exacerbation has resolved. In both cases, once the exacerbation has resolved, the patient is discharged from the hospital-at-home program and no longer receives visits in his/her home.
In the models that exist to date, hospital-at-home programs differ from other home care programs because they deal with higher acuity patients who require higher acuity care, and because hospitals retain the medical and legal responsibility for patients. Furthermore, patients requiring home care services may require such services for long periods of time or indefinitely, whereas patients in hospital-at-home programs require and receive the services for a short period of time only.
Hospital-at-home care is not appropriate for all patients with acute exacerbations of COPD. Ineligible patients include: those with mild exacerbations that can be managed without admission to hospital; those who require admission to hospital; and those who cannot be safely treated in a hospital-at-home program either for medical reasons and/or because of a lack of, or poor, social support at home.
The proposed possible benefits of hospital-at-home for treatment of exacerbations of COPD include: decreased utilization of health care resources by avoiding hospital admission and/or reducing length of stay in hospital; decreased costs; increased health-related quality of life for patients and caregivers when treated at home; and reduced risk of hospital-acquired infections in this susceptible patient population.
Ontario Context
No hospital-at-home programs for the treatment of acute exacerbations of COPD were identified in Ontario. Patients requiring acute care for their exacerbations are treated in hospitals.
Research Question
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of hospital-at-home care compared with inpatient hospital care of acute exacerbations of COPD?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
A literature search was performed on August 5, 2010, using OVID MEDLINE, OVID MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, EBSCO Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), the Wiley Cochrane Library, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination database for studies published from January 1, 1990, to August 5, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists and health technology assessment websites were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the systematic search.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-text reports;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs);
studies performed exclusively in patients with a diagnosis of COPD or studies including patients with COPD as well as patients with other conditions, if results are reported for COPD patients separately;
studies performed in patients with acute exacerbations of COPD who present to the ED;
studies published between January 1, 1990, and August 5, 2010;
studies comparing hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for patients with acute exacerbations of COPD;
studies that include at least 1 of the outcomes of interest (listed below).
Cochrane Collaboration reviews have defined hospital-at-home programs as those that provide patients with active treatment for their acute exacerbation in their home by medical professionals for a limited period of time (in this case, until the resolution of the exacerbation). If a hospital-at-home program had not been available, these patients would have been admitted to hospital for their treatment.
Exclusion Criteria
< 18 years of age
animal studies
duplicate publications
grey literature
Outcomes of Interest
Patient/clinical outcomes
mortality
lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second)
health-related quality of life
patient or caregiver preference
patient or caregiver satisfaction with care
complications
Health system outcomes
hospital readmissions
length of stay in hospital and hospital-at-home
ED visits
transfer to long-term care
days to readmission
eligibility for hospital-at-home
Statistical Methods
When possible, results were pooled using Review Manager 5 Version 5.1; otherwise, results were summarized descriptively. Data from RCTs were analyzed using intention-to-treat protocols. In addition, a sensitivity analysis was done assigning all missing data/withdrawals to the event. P values less than 0.05 were considered significant. A priori subgroup analyses were planned for the acuity of hospital-at-home program, type of hospital-at-home program (early discharge or admission avoidance), and severity of the patients’ COPD. Additional subgroup analyses were conducted as needed based on the identified literature. Post hoc sample size calculations were performed using STATA 10.1.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed, taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review: 1 health technology assessment, 5 systematic reviews, and 7 RCTs.
The following conclusions are based on low to very low quality of evidence. The reviewed evidence was based on RCTs that were inadequately powered to observe differences between hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for most outcomes, so there is a strong possibility of type II error. Given the low to very low quality of evidence, these conclusions must be considered with caution.
Approximately 21% to 37% of patients with acute exacerbations of COPD who present to the ED may be eligible for hospital-at-home care.
Of the patients who are eligible for care, some may refuse to participate in hospital-at-home care.
Eligibility for hospital-at-home care may be increased depending on the design of the hospital-at-home program, such as the size of the geographical service area for hospital-at-home and the hours of operation for patient assessment and entry into hospital-at-home.
Hospital-at-home care for acute exacerbations of COPD was associated with a nonsignificant reduction in the risk of mortality and hospital readmissions compared with inpatient hospital care during 2- to 6-month follow-up.
Limited, very low quality evidence suggests that hospital readmissions are delayed in patients who received hospital-at-home care compared with those who received inpatient hospital care (mean additional days before readmission comparing hospital-at-home to inpatient hospital care ranged from 4 to 38 days).
There is insufficient evidence to determine whether hospital-at-home care, compared with inpatient hospital care, is associated with improved lung function.
The majority of studies did not find significant differences between hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care for a variety of health-related quality of life measures at follow-up. However, follow-up may have been too late to observe an impact of hospital-at-home care on quality of life.
A conclusion about the impact of hospital-at-home care on length of stay for the initial exacerbation (defined as days in hospital or days in hospital plus hospital-at-home care for inpatient hospital and hospital-at-home, respectively) could not be determined because of limited and inconsistent evidence.
Patient and caregiver satisfaction with care is high for both hospital-at-home and inpatient hospital care.
PMCID: PMC3384361  PMID: 23074420
11.  Combined corticosteroid and long-acting beta2-agonist in one inhaler versus long-acting beta2-agonists for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Background
Both inhaled steroids (ICS) and long-acting beta2-agonists (LABA) are used in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This updated review compared compound LABA plus ICS therapy (LABA/ICS) with the LABA component drug given alone.
Objectives
To assess the efficacy of ICS and LABA in a single inhaler with mono-component LABA alone in adults with COPD.
Search methods
We searched the Cochrane Airways Group Specialised Register of trials. The date of the most recent search was November 2011.
Selection criteria
We included randomised, double-blind controlled trials. We included trials comparing compound ICS and LABA preparations with their component LABA preparations in people with COPD.
Data collection and analysis
Two authors independently assessed study risk of bias and extracted data. The primary outcomes were exacerbations, mortality and pneumonia, while secondary outcomes were health-related quality of life (measured by validated scales), lung function, withdrawals due to lack of efficacy, withdrawals due to adverse events and side-effects. Dichotomous data were analysed as random-effects model odds ratios or rate ratios with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and continuous data as mean differences and 95% CIs. We rated the quality of evidence for exacerbations, mortality and pneumonia according to recommendations made by the GRADE working group.
Main results
Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria, randomising 11,794 people with severe COPD. We looked at any LABA plus ICS inhaler (LABA/ICS) versus the same LABA component alone, and then we looked at the 10 studies which assessed fluticasone plus salmeterol (FPS) and the four studies assessing budesonide plus formoterol (BDF) separately. The studies were well-designed with low risk of bias for randomisation and blinding but they had high rates of attrition, which reduced our confidence in the results for outcomes other than mortality.
Primary outcomes
There was low quality evidence that exacerbation rates in people using LABA/ICS inhalers were lower in comparison to those with LABA alone, from nine studies which randomised 9921 participants (rate ratio 0.76; 95% CI 0.68 to 0.84). This corresponds to one exacerbation per person per year on LABA and 0.76 exacerbations per person per year on ICS/LABA. Our confidence in this effect was limited by statistical heterogeneity between the results of the studies (I2 = 68%) and a risk of bias from the high withdrawal rates across the studies. When analysed as the number of people experiencing one or more exacerbations over the course of the study, FPS lowered the odds of an exacerbation with an odds ratio (OR) of 0.83 (95% CI 0.70 to 0.98, 6 studies, 3357 participants). With a risk of an exacerbation of 47% in the LABA group over one year, 42% of people treated with LABA/ICS would be expected to experience an exacerbation. Concerns over the effect of reporting biases led us to downgrade the quality of evidence for this effect from high to moderate.
There was no significant difference in the rate of hospitalisations (rate ratio 0.79; 95% CI 0.55 to 1.13, very low quality evidence due to risk of bias, statistical imprecision and inconsistency). There was no significant difference in mortality between people on combined inhalers and those on LABA, from 10 studies on 10,680 participants (OR 0.92; 95% CI 0.76 to 1.11, downgraded to moderate quality evidence due to statistical imprecision). Pneumonia occurred more commonly in people randomised to combined inhalers, from 12 studies with 11,076 participants (OR 1.55; 95% CI 1.20 to 2.01, moderate quality evidence due to risk of bias in relation to attrition) with an annual risk of around 3% on LABA alone compared to 4% on combination treatment. There were no significant differences between the results for either exacerbations or pneumonia from trials adding different doses or types of inhaled corticosteroid.
Secondary outcomes
ICS/LABA was more effective than LABA alone in improving health-related quality of life measured by the St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (1.58 units lower with FPS; 2.69 units lower with BDF), dyspnoea (0.09 units lower with FPS), symptoms (0.07 units lower with BDF), rescue medication (0.38 puffs per day fewer with FPS, 0.33 puffs per day fewer with BDF), and forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) (70 mL higher with FPS, 50 mL higher with BDF). Candidiasis (OR 3.75) and upper respiratory infection (OR 1.32) occurred more frequently with FPS than SAL. We did not combine adverse event data relating to candidiasis for BDF studies as the results were very inconsistent.
Authors’ conclusions
Concerns over the analysis and availability of data from the studies bring into question the superiority of ICS/LABA over LABA alone in preventing exacerbations. The effects on hospitalisations were inconsistent and require further exploration. There was moderate quality evidence of an increased risk of pneumonia with ICS/LABA. There was moderate quality evidence that treatments had similar effects on mortality. Quality of life, symptoms score, rescue medication use and FEV1 improved more on ICS/LABA than on LABA, but the average differences were probably not clinically significant for these outcomes. To an individual patient the increased risk of pneumonia needs to be balanced against the possible reduction in exacerbations.
More information would be useful on the relative benefits and adverse event rates with combination inhalers using different doses of inhaled corticosteroids. Evidence from head-to-head comparisons is needed to assess the comparative risks and benefits of the different combination inhalers.
doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006829.pub2
PMCID: PMC4170910  PMID: 22972099
Adrenal Cortex Hormones [*administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Adrenergic beta-Agonists [*administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Albuterol [administration & dosage; adverse effects; analogs & derivatives]; Androstadienes [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Bronchodilator Agents [*administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Budesonide [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Drug Combinations; Drug Therapy, Combination [methods]; Ethanolamines [administration & dosage; adverse effects]; Nebulizers and Vaporizers; Pneumonia [chemically induced]; Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive [*drug therapy; mortality]; Quality of Life; Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic; Adult; Humans
12.  Utility of the CAT in the therapy assessment of COPD exacerbations in China 
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations are accompanied with increased systemic inflammation, which accelerate the pulmonary function injury and impair the quality of life. Prompt and effective treatments for COPD exacerbations slow down the disease progression, but an objective instrument to assess the efficacy of the treatments following COPD exacerbations is lacking nowadays. The COPD Assessment Test (CAT) is an 8-item questionnaire designed to assess and quantify health status and symptom burden in COPD patients. We hypothesize that the change in CAT score is related to the treatment response following COPD exacerbations.
Methods
78 inpatients with clinician-diagnosed acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD) completed the CAT, St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) Dyspnea Scale both at exacerbation and the 7th day of therapy, and a subgroup of 39 patients performed the pulmonary function test. Concentrations of serum C-reactive protein (CRP) and plasma fibrinogen were assayed at the same time. Correlations between the CAT and other measurements were examined.
Results
After 7 days’ therapy, the CAT and SGRQ scores, mMRC grades, as well as the concentrations of CRP and fibrinogen all decreased significantly (P < 0.001). Meanwhile, the FEV1% predicted had a significant improvement (P < 0.001). The CAT scores were significantly correlated with concurrent concentrations of CRP and fibrinogen, SGRQ scores, FEV1% predicted and mMRC grades (P < 0.05). The change in CAT score was positively correlated with the change of CRP (r = 0.286, P < 0.05), SGRQ score (r = 0.725, P < 0.001) and mMRC grades (r = 0.593, P < 0.001), but not with fibrinogen (r = 0.137, P > 0.05) or FEV1% predicted (r = -0.101, P > 0.05). No relationship was found between the changes of SGRQ score and CRP and fibrinogen (P>0.05).
Conclusions
The CAT is associate with the changes of systemic inflammation following COPD exacerbations. Moreover, the CAT is responsive to the treatments, similar to other measures such as SGRQ, mMRC dyspnea scale and pulmonary function. Therefore, the CAT is a potentially useful instrument to assess the efficacy of treatments following COPD exacerbations.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-42
PMCID: PMC3995795  PMID: 24618290
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease assessment test; Exacerbation; Inflammatory biomarkers; Pulmonary function; Therapy assessment
13.  The utility of forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of vital capacity in predicting childhood asthma morbidity and severity 
The Journal of Asthma  2012;49(6):586-592.
Objective
The forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1), felt to be an objective measure of airway obstruction, is often normal in asthmatic children. The forced expiratory flow between 25% and 75% of vital capacity (FEF25-75) reflects small airway patency and has been found to be reduced in children with asthma. The aim of this study was to determine if FEF25-75 is associated with increased childhood asthma severity and morbidity in the setting of a normal FEV1, and to determine if bronchodilator responsiveness (BDR) as defined by FEF25-75 identifies more childhood asthmatics than does BDR defined by FEV1.
Methods
The Children’s Hospital Boston Pulmonary Function Test database was queried and the most recent spirometry result was retrieved for 744 children diagnosed with asthma between 10–18 years of age between October 2000 and October 2010. Electronic medical records in the 1 year prior and the 1 year following the date of spirometry were examined for asthma severity (mild, moderate or severe) and morbidity outcomes for three age, race and gender-matched subgroups: group A (n= 35) had a normal FEV1, FEV1/FVC and FEF25-75; Group B (n= 36) had solely a diminished FEV1/FVC; and Group C (n=37) had a normal FEV1, low FEV1/FVC and low FEF25-75. Morbidity outcomes analyzed included the presence of hospitalization, emergency department visit, intensive care unit admission, asthma exacerbation, and systemic steroid use.
Results
Subjects with a low FEF25-75 (Group C) had nearly 3 times the odds (OR 2.8, p<0.01) of systemic corticosteroid use and 6 times the odds of asthma exacerbations (OR 6.3, p>0.01) compared with those who had normal spirometry (Group A). Using FEF25-75 to define bronchodilator responsiveness identified 53% more subjects with asthma than did using a definition based on FEV1.
Conclusions
A low FEF25-75 in the setting of a normal FEV1 is associated with increased asthma severity, systemic steroid use and asthma exacerbations in children. In addition, using the percent change in FEF25-75 from baseline may be helpful in identifying bronchodilator responsiveness in asthmatic children with a normal FEV1.
doi:10.3109/02770903.2012.690481
PMCID: PMC3398223  PMID: 22742446
spirometry; childhood asthma; FEF25-75; bronchodilator responsiveness
14.  Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this evidence-based review was to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Technology
Pulmonary rehabilitation refers to a multidisciplinary program of care for patients with chronic respiratory impairment that is individually tailored and designed to optimize physical and social performance and autonomy. Exercise training is the cornerstone of pulmonary rehabilitation programs, though they may also include components such as patient education and psychological support. Pulmonary rehabilitation is recommended as the standard of care in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients with COPD who remain symptomatic despite treatment with bronchodilators.
For the purpose of this review, the Medical Advisory Secretariat focused on pulmonary rehabilitation programs as defined by the Cochrane Collaboration—that is, any inpatient, outpatient, or home-based rehabilitation program lasting at least 4 weeks that includes exercise therapy with or without any form of education and/or psychological support delivered to patients with exercise limitations attributable to COPD.
Research Questions
What is the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation compared with usual care (UC) for patients with stable COPD?
Does early pulmonary rehabilitation (within 1 month of hospital discharge) in patients who had an acute exacerbation of COPD improve outcomes compared with UC (or no rehabilitation)?
Do maintenance or postrehabilitation programs for patients with COPD who have completed a pulmonary rehabilitation program improve outcomes compared with UC?
Research Methods
Literature Search
Search Strategy
For Research Questions 1and 2, a literature search was performed on August 10, 2010 for studies published from January 1, 2004 to July 31, 2010. For Research Question 3, a literature search was performed on February 3, 2011 for studies published from January 1, 2000 to February 3, 2011. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists and health technology assessment websites were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the systematic search.
Inclusion Criteria
Research questions 1 and 2:
published between January 1, 2004 and July 31, 2010
randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses
COPD study population
studies comparing pulmonary rehabilitation with UC (no pulmonary rehabilitation)
duration of pulmonary rehabilitation program ≥ 6 weeks
pulmonary rehabilitation program had to include at minimum exercise training
Research question 3:
published between January 1, 2000 and February 3, 2011
randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses
COPD study population
studies comparing a maintenance or postrehabilitation program with UC (standard follow-up)
duration of pulmonary rehabilitation program ≥ 6 weeks
initial pulmonary rehabilitation program had to include at minimum exercise training
Exclusion Criteria
Research questions 1, 2, and 3:
grey literature
duplicate publications
non-English language publications
study population ≤ 18 years of age
studies conducted in a palliative population
studies that did not report primary outcome of interest
Additional exclusion criteria for research question 3:
studies with ≤ 2 sessions/visits per month
Outcomes of Interest
The primary outcomes of interest for the stable COPD population were exercise capacity and health-related quality of life (HRQOL). For the COPD population following an exacerbation, the primary outcomes of interest were hospital readmissions and HRQOL. The primary outcomes of interest for the COPD population undertaking maintenance programs were functional exercise capacity and HRQOL.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
Research Question 1: Effect of Pulmonary Rehabilitation on Outcomes in Stable COPD
Seventeen randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria and were included in this review.
The following conclusions are based on moderate quality of evidence.
Pulmonary rehabilitation including at least 4 weeks of exercise training leads to clinically and statistically significant improvements in HRQOL in patients with COPD.1
Pulmonary rehabilitation also leads to a clinically and statistically significant improvement in functional exercise capacity2 (weighted mean difference, 54.83 m; 95% confidence interval, 35.63–74.03; P < 0.001).
Research Question 2: Effect of Pulmonary Rehabilitation on Outcomes Following an Acute Exacerbation of COPD
Five randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria and are included in this review. The following conclusion is based on moderate quality of evidence.
Pulmonary rehabilitation (within 1 month of hospital discharge) after acute exacerbation significantly reduces hospital readmissions (relative risk, 0.50; 95% confidence interval, 0.33–0.77; P = 0.001) and leads to a statistically and clinically significant improvement in HRQOL.3
Research Question 3: Effect of Pulmonary Rehabilitation Maintenance Programs on COPD Outcomes
Three randomized controlled trials met the inclusion criteria and are included in this review. The conclusions are based on a low quality of evidence and must therefore be considered with caution.
Maintenance programs have a nonsignificant effect on HRQOL and hospitalizations.
Maintenance programs have a statistically but not clinically significant effect on exercise capacity (P = 0.01). When subgrouped by intensity and quality of study, maintenance programs have a statistically and marginally clinically significant effect on exercise capacity.
PMCID: PMC3384375  PMID: 23074434
15.  Virus-induced exacerbations in asthma and COPD 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by chronic airway inflammation and/or airflow limitation due to pulmonary emphysema. Chronic bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, and bronchial asthma may all be associated with airflow limitation; therefore, exacerbation of asthma may be associated with the pathophysiology of COPD. Furthermore, recent studies have suggested that the exacerbation of asthma, namely virus-induced asthma, may be associated with a wide variety of respiratory viruses. COPD and asthma have different underlying pathophysiological processes and thus require individual therapies. Exacerbation of both COPD and asthma, which are basically defined and diagnosed by clinical symptoms, is associated with a rapid decline in lung function and increased mortality. Similar pathogens, including human rhinovirus, respiratory syncytial virus, influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, and coronavirus, are also frequently detected during exacerbation of asthma and/or COPD. Immune response to respiratory viral infections, which may be related to the severity of exacerbation in each disease, varies in patients with both COPD and asthma. In this regard, it is crucial to recognize and understand both the similarities and differences of clinical features in patients with COPD and/or asthma associated with respiratory viral infections, especially in the exacerbative stage. In relation to definition, epidemiology, and pathophysiology, this review aims to summarize current knowledge concerning exacerbation of both COPD and asthma by focusing on the clinical significance of associated respiratory virus infections.
doi:10.3389/fmicb.2013.00293
PMCID: PMC3787546  PMID: 24098299
asthma; COPD; respiratory virus; exacerbation; overlap syndrome; human rhinovirus; respiratory syncytial virus
16.  Exacerbations in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease receiving physical therapy: a cohort-nested randomised controlled trial 
Background
Physical exercise training aims at reducing disease-specific impairments and improving quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). COPD exacerbations in particular negatively impact COPD progression. Physical therapy intervention seems indicated to influence exacerbations and their consequences. However, information on the effect of physical therapy on exacerbation occurrence is scarce. This study aims to investigate the potential of a protocol-directed physical therapy programme as a means to prevent or postpone exacerbations, to shorten the duration or to decrease the severity of exacerbations in patients with COPD who have recently experienced an exacerbation. Besides, this study focuses on the effect of protocol-directed physical therapy on health status and quality of life and on cost-effectiveness and cost-utility in patients with COPD who have recently experienced an exacerbation.
Methods/Design
A prospective cohort of 300 COPD patients in all GOLD stages will be constructed. Patients will receive usual multidisciplinary COPD care including guideline-directed physical therapy. Patients in this cohort who have GOLD stage 2 to 4 (post-bronchodilator FEV1/FVC < 0.7 and FEV1 < 80% of predicted), who receive reimbursement by health insurance companies for physical therapy (post-bronchodilator Tiffeneau-index < 0.6) and who experience a COPD exacerbation will be asked within 56 days to participate in a cohort-nested prospective randomised controlled trial (RCT). In this RCT, the intervention group will receive a strict physical therapy programme for patients with COPD. This protocol-directed physical therapy (pdPT) will be compared to a control group that will receive sham-treatment, meaning no or very low-intensity exercise training (ST). An economic evaluation will be embedded in the RCT. Anthropometric measurements, comorbidities, smoking, functional exercise capacity, peripheral muscle strength, physical activity level, health related quality of life, patients’ perceived benefit, physical therapy compliance, motivation level, level of effective mucus clearance, exacerbation symptoms and health care contacts due to COPD will be recorded. Follow-up measurements are scheduled at 3 and 6 weeks, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after inclusion.
Discussion
Ways to minimise potential problems regarding the execution of this study will be discussed.
Trial registration
The Netherlands National Trial Register NTR1972.
doi:10.1186/1471-2466-14-71
PMCID: PMC4108017  PMID: 24767519
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (MESH); Disease exacerbation (MESH); Physical therapy modalities (MESH); Physiotherapy; Exercise therapy (MESH); Pulmonary rehabilitation; Costs and cost analysis (MESH); Quality of life (MESH); Comorbidity (MESH); Cohort studies (MESH); Randomized controlled trial (MESH)
17.  Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) 
Executive Summary
In July 2010, the Medical Advisory Secretariat (MAS) began work on a Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) evidentiary framework, an evidence-based review of the literature surrounding treatment strategies for patients with COPD. This project emerged from a request by the Health System Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care that MAS provide them with an evidentiary platform on the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of COPD interventions.
After an initial review of health technology assessments and systematic reviews of COPD literature, and consultation with experts, MAS identified the following topics for analysis: vaccinations (influenza and pneumococcal), smoking cessation, multidisciplinary care, pulmonary rehabilitation, long-term oxygen therapy, noninvasive positive pressure ventilation for acute and chronic respiratory failure, hospital-at-home for acute exacerbations of COPD, and telehealth (including telemonitoring and telephone support). Evidence-based analyses were prepared for each of these topics. For each technology, an economic analysis was also completed where appropriate. In addition, a review of the qualitative literature on patient, caregiver, and provider perspectives on living and dying with COPD was conducted, as were reviews of the qualitative literature on each of the technologies included in these analyses.
The Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mega-Analysis series is made up of the following reports, which can be publicly accessed at the MAS website at: http://www.hqontario.ca/en/mas/mas_ohtas_mn.html.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Evidentiary Framework
Influenza and Pneumococcal Vaccinations for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Smoking Cessation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Community-Based Multidisciplinary Care for Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Long-term Oxygen Therapy for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Acute Respiratory Failure Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Noninvasive Positive Pressure Ventilation for Chronic Respiratory Failure Patients With Stable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Hospital-at-Home Programs for Patients With Acute Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Home Telehealth for Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): An Evidence-Based Analysis
Cost-Effectiveness of Interventions for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Using an Ontario Policy Model
Experiences of Living and Dying With COPD: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of the Qualitative Empirical Literature
For more information on the qualitative review, please contact Mita Giacomini at: http://fhs.mcmaster.ca/ceb/faculty_member_giacomini.htm.
For more information on the economic analysis, please visit the PATH website: http://www.path-hta.ca/About-Us/Contact-Us.aspx.
The Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) collaborative has produced an associated report on patient preference for mechanical ventilation. For more information, please visit the THETA website: http://theta.utoronto.ca/static/contact.
Objective
The objective of this evidence-based analysis was to examine the effectiveness, safety, and cost-effectiveness of noninvasive positive pressure ventilation (NPPV) in the following patient populations: patients with acute respiratory failure (ARF) due to acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); weaning of COPD patients from invasive mechanical ventilation (IMV); and prevention of or treatment of recurrent respiratory failure in COPD patients after extubation from IMV.
Clinical Need and Target Population
Acute Hypercapnic Respiratory Failure
Respiratory failure occurs when the respiratory system cannot oxygenate the blood and/or remove carbon dioxide from the blood. It can be either acute or chronic and is classified as either hypoxemic (type I) or hypercapnic (type II) respiratory failure. Acute hypercapnic respiratory failure frequently occurs in COPD patients experiencing acute exacerbations of COPD, so this is the focus of this evidence-based analysis. Hypercapnic respiratory failure occurs due to a decrease in the drive to breathe, typically due to increased work to breathe in COPD patients.
Technology
There are several treatment options for ARF. Usual medical care (UMC) attempts to facilitate adequate oxygenation and treat the cause of the exacerbation, and typically consists of supplemental oxygen, and a variety of medications such as bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and antibiotics. The failure rate of UMC is high and has been estimated to occur in 10% to 50% of cases.
The alternative is mechanical ventilation, either invasive or noninvasive. Invasive mechanical ventilation involves sedating the patient, creating an artificial airway through endotracheal intubation, and attaching the patient to a ventilator. While this provides airway protection and direct access to drain sputum, it can lead to substantial morbidity, including tracheal injuries and ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP).
While both positive and negative pressure noninvasive ventilation exists, noninvasive negative pressure ventilation such as the iron lung is no longer in use in Ontario. Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation provides ventilatory support through a facial or nasal mask and reduces inspiratory work. Noninvasive positive pressure ventilation can often be used intermittently for short periods of time to treat respiratory failure, which allows patients to continue to eat, drink, talk, and participate in their own treatment decisions. In addition, patients do not require sedation, airway defence mechanisms and swallowing functions are maintained, trauma to the trachea and larynx are avoided, and the risk for VAP is reduced. Common complications are damage to facial and nasal skin, higher incidence of gastric distension with aspiration risk, sleeping disorders, and conjunctivitis. In addition, NPPV does not allow direct access to the airway to drain secretions and requires patients to cooperate, and due to potential discomfort, compliance and tolerance may be low.
In addition to treating ARF, NPPV can be used to wean patients from IMV through the gradual removal of ventilation support until the patient can breathe spontaneously. Five to 30% of patients have difficultly weaning. Tapering levels of ventilatory support to wean patients from IMV can be achieved using IMV or NPPV. The use of NPPV helps to reduce the risk of VAP by shortening the time the patient is intubated.
Following extubation from IMV, ARF may recur, leading to extubation failure and the need for reintubation, which has been associated with increased risk of nosocomial pneumonia and mortality. To avoid these complications, NPPV has been proposed to help prevent ARF recurrence and/or to treat respiratory failure when it recurs, thereby preventing the need for reintubation.
Research Questions
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of NPPV for the treatment of acute hypercapnic respiratory failure due to acute exacerbations of COPD compared with
usual medical care, and
invasive mechanical ventilation?
What is the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and safety of NPPV compared with IMV in COPD patients after IMV for the following purposes:
weaning COPD patients from IMV,
preventing ARF in COPD patients after extubation from IMV, and
treating ARF in COPD patients after extubation from IMV?
Research Methods
Literature Search
A literature search was performed on December 3, 2010 using OVID MEDLINE, MEDLINE In-Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations, OVID EMBASE, the Cumulative Index to Nursing & Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), Wiley Cochrane, and the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination/International Agency for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA) for studies published from January 1, 2004 until December 3, 2010. Abstracts were reviewed by a single reviewer and, for those studies meeting the eligibility criteria, full-text articles were obtained. Reference lists were also examined for any additional relevant studies not identified through the search.
Since there were numerous studies that examined the effectiveness of NPPV for the treatment of ARF due to exacerbations of COPD published before 2004, pre-2004 trials which met the inclusion/exclusion criteria for this evidence-based review were identified by hand-searching reference lists of included studies and systematic reviews.
Inclusion Criteria
English language full-reports;
health technology assessments, systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and randomized controlled trials (RCTs);
studies performed exclusively in patients with a diagnosis of COPD or studies performed with patients with a mix of conditions if results are reported for COPD patients separately;
patient population: (Question 1) patients with acute hypercapnic respiratory failure due to an exacerbation of COPD; (Question 2a) COPD patients being weaned from IMV; (Questions 2b and 2c) COPD patients who have been extubated from IMV.
Exclusion Criteria
< 18 years of age
animal studies
duplicate publications
grey literature
studies examining noninvasive negative pressure ventilation
studies comparing modes of ventilation
studies comparing patient-ventilation interfaces
studies examining outcomes not listed below, such as physiologic effects including heart rate, arterial blood gases, and blood pressure
Outcomes of Interest
mortality
intubation rates
length of stay (intensive care unit [ICU] and hospital)
health-related quality of life
breathlessness
duration of mechanical ventilation
weaning failure
complications
NPPV tolerance and compliance
Statistical Methods
When possible, results were pooled using Review Manager 5 Version 5.1, otherwise, the results were summarized descriptively. Dichotomous data were pooled into relative risks using random effects models and continuous data were pooled using weighted mean differences with a random effects model. Analyses using data from RCTs were done using intention-to-treat protocols; P values < 0.05 were considered significant. A priori subgroup analyses were planned for severity of respiratory failure, location of treatment (ICU or hospital ward), and mode of ventilation with additional subgroups as needed based on the literature. Post hoc sample size calculations were performed using STATA 10.1.
Quality of Evidence
The quality of each included study was assessed taking into consideration allocation concealment, randomization, blinding, power/sample size, withdrawals/dropouts, and intention-to-treat analyses.
The quality of the body of evidence was assessed as high, moderate, low, or very low according to the GRADE Working Group criteria. The following definitions of quality were used in grading the quality of the evidence:
Summary of Findings
NPPV for the Treatment of ARF due to Acute Exacerbations of COPD
NPPV Plus Usual Medical Care Versus Usual Medical Care Alone for First Line Treatment
A total of 1,000 participants were included in 11 RCTs1; the sample size ranged from 23 to 342. The mean age of the participants ranged from approximately 60 to 72 years of age. Based on either the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) COPD stage criteria or the mean percent predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), 4 of the studies included people with severe COPD, and there was inadequate information to classify the remaining 7 studies by COPD severity. The severity of the respiratory failure was classified into 4 categories using the study population mean pH level as follows: mild (pH ≥ 7.35), moderate (7.30 ≤ pH < 7.35), severe (7.25 ≤ pH < 7.30), and very severe (pH < 7.25). Based on these categories, 3 studies included patients with a mild respiratory failure, 3 with moderate respiratory failure, 4 with severe respiratory failure, and 1 with very severe respiratory failure.
The studies were conducted either in the ICU (3 of 11 studies) or general or respiratory wards (8 of 11 studies) in hospitals, with patients in the NPPV group receiving bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) ventilatory support, except in 2 studies, which used pressure support ventilation and volume cycled ventilation, respectively. Patients received ventilation through nasal, facial, or oronasal masks. All studies specified a protocol or schedule for NPPV delivery, but this varied substantially across the studies. For example, some studies restricted the amount of ventilation per day (e.g., 6 hours per day) and the number of days it was offered (e.g., maximum of 3 days); whereas, other studies provided patients with ventilation for as long as they could tolerate it and recommended it for much longer periods of time (e.g., 7 to 10 days). These differences are an important source of clinical heterogeneity between the studies. In addition to NPPV, all patients in the NPPV group also received UMC. Usual medical care varied between the studies, but common medications included supplemental oxygen, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, antibiotics, diuretics, and respiratory stimulators.
The individual quality of the studies ranged. Common methodological issues included lack of blinding and allocation concealment, and small sample sizes.
Need for Endotracheal Intubation
Eleven studies reported the need for endotracheal intubation as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant reduction in the need for endotracheal intubation in the NPPV plus UMC group compared with the UMC alone group (relative risk [RR], 0.38; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.28−0.50). When subgrouped by severity of respiratory failure, the results remained significant for the mild, severe, and very severe respiratory failure groups.
GRADE: moderate
Inhospital Mortality
Nine studies reported inhospital mortality as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant reduction in inhospital mortality in the NPPV plus UMC group compared with the UMC group (RR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.35−0.81). When subgrouped by severity of respiratory failure, the results remained significant for the moderate and severe respiratory failure groups.
GRADE: moderate
Hospital Length of Stay
Eleven studies reported hospital length of stay (LOS) as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant decrease in the mean length of stay for the NPPV plus UMC group compared with the UMC alone group (weighted mean difference [WMD], −2.68 days; 95% CI, −4.41 to −0.94 days). When subgrouped by severity of respiratory failure, the results remained significant for the mild, severe, and very severe respiratory failure groups.
GRADE: moderate
Complications
Five studies reported complications. Common complications in the NPPV plus UMC group included pneumonia, gastrointestinal disorders or bleeds, skin abrasions, eye irritation, gastric insufflation, and sepsis. Similar complications were observed in the UMC group including pneumonia, sepsis, gastrointestinal disorders or bleeds, pneumothorax, and complicated endotracheal intubations. Many of the more serious complications in both groups occurred in those patients who required endotracheal intubation. Three of the studies compared complications in the NPPV plus UMC and UMC groups. While the data could not be pooled, overall, the NPPV plus UMC group experienced fewer complications than the UMC group.
GRADE: low
Tolerance/Compliance
Eight studies reported patient tolerance or compliance with NPPV as an outcome. NPPV intolerance ranged from 5% to 29%. NPPV tolerance was generally higher for patients with more severe respiratory failure. Compliance with the NPPV protocol was reported by 2 studies, which showed compliance decreases over time, even over short periods such as 3 days.
NPPV Versus IMV for the Treatment of Patients Who Failed Usual Medical Care
A total of 205 participants were included in 2 studies; the sample sizes of these studies were 49 and 156. The mean age of the patients was 71 to 73 years of age in 1 study, and the median age was 54 to 58 years of age in the second study. Based on either the GOLD COPD stage criteria or the mean percent predicted FEV1, patients in 1 study had very severe COPD. The COPD severity could not be classified in the second study. Both studies had study populations with a mean pH less than 7.23, which was classified as very severe respiratory failure in this analysis. One study enrolled patients with ARF due to acute exacerbations of COPD who had failed medical therapy. The patient population was not clearly defined in the second study, and it was not clear whether they had to have failed medical therapy before entry into the study.
Both studies were conducted in the ICU. Patients in the NPPV group received BiPAP ventilatory support through nasal or full facial masks. Patients in the IMV group received pressure support ventilation.
Common methodological issues included small sample size, lack of blinding, and unclear methods of randomization and allocation concealment. Due to the uncertainty about whether both studies included the same patient population and substantial differences in the direction and significance of the results, the results of the studies were not pooled.
Mortality
Both studies reported ICU mortality. Neither study showed a significant difference in ICU mortality between the NPPV and IMV groups, but 1 study showed a higher mortality rate in the NPPV group (21.7% vs. 11.5%) while the other study showed a lower mortality rate in the NPPV group (5.1% vs. 6.4%). One study reported 1-year mortality and showed a nonsignificant reduction in mortality in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (26.1% vs. 46.1%).
GRADE: low to very low
Intensive Care Unit Length of Stay
Both studies reported LOS in the ICU. The results were inconsistent. One study showed a statistically significant shorter LOS in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (5 ± 1.35 days vs. 9.29 ± 3 days; P < 0.001); whereas, the other study showed a nonsignificantly longer LOS in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (22 ± 19 days vs. 21 ± 20 days; P = 0.86).
GRADE: very low
Duration of Mechanical Ventilation
Both studies reported the duration of mechanical ventilation (including both invasive and noninvasive ventilation). The results were inconsistent. One study showed a statistically significant shorter duration of mechanical ventilation in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (3.92 ± 1.08 days vs. 7.17 ± 2.22 days; P < 0.001); whereas, the other study showed a nonsignificantly longer duration of mechanical ventilation in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (16 ± 19 days vs. 15 ± 21 days; P = 0.86). GRADE: very low
Complications
Both studies reported ventilator-associated pneumonia and tracheotomies. Both showed a reduction in ventilator-associated pneumonia in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group, but the results were only significant in 1 study (13% vs. 34.6%, P = 0.07; and 6.4% vs. 37.2%, P < 0.001, respectively). Similarly, both studies showed a reduction in tracheotomies in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group, but the results were only significant in 1 study (13% vs. 23.1%, P = 0.29; and 6.4% vs. 34.6%; P < 0.001).
GRADE: very low
Other Outcomes
One of the studies followed patients for 12 months. At the end of follow-up, patients in the NPPV group had a significantly lower rate of needing de novo oxygen supplementation at home. In addition, the IMV group experienced significant increases in functional limitations due to COPD, while no increase was seen in the NPPV group. Finally, no significant differences were observed for hospital readmissions, ICU readmissions, and patients with an open tracheotomy, between the NPPV and IMV groups.
NPPV for Weaning COPD Patients From IMV
A total of 80 participants were included in the 2 RCTs; the sample sizes of the studies were 30 and 50 patients. The mean age of the participants ranged from 58 to 69 years of age. Based on either the GOLD COPD stage criteria or the mean percent predicted FEV1, both studies included patients with very severe COPD. Both studies also included patients with very severe respiratory failure (mean pH of the study populations was less than 7.23). Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients receiving IMV were enrolled in the study if they failed a T-piece weaning trial (spontaneous breathing test), so they could not be directly extubated from IMV.
Both studies were conducted in the ICU. Patients in the NPPV group received weaning using either BiPAP or pressure support ventilation NPPV through a face mask, and patients in the IMV weaning group received pressure support ventilation. In both cases, weaning was achieved by tapering the ventilation level.
The individual quality of the studies ranged. Common methodological problems included unclear randomization methods and allocation concealment, lack of blinding, and small sample size.
Mortality
Both studies reported mortality as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant reduction in ICU mortality in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (RR, 0.47; 95% CI, 0.23−0.97; P = 0.04).
GRADE: moderate
Intensive Care Unit Length of Stay
Both studies reported ICU LOS as an outcome. The pooled results showed a nonsignificant reduction in ICU LOS in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (WMD, −5.21 days; 95% CI, −11.60 to 1.18 days).
GRADE: low
Duration of Mechanical Ventilation
Both studies reported duration of mechanical ventilation (including both invasive and noninvasive ventilation) as an outcome. The pooled results showed a nonsignificant reduction in duration of mechanical ventilation (WMD, −3.55 days; 95% CI, −8.55 to 1.44 days).
GRADE: low
Nosocomial Pneumonia
Both studies reported nosocominal pneumonia as an outcome. The pooled results showed a significant reduction in nosocomial pneumonia in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group (RR, 0.14; 95% CI, 0.03−0.71; P = 0.02).
GRADE: moderate
Weaning Failure
One study reported a significant reduction in weaning failure in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group, but the results were not reported in the publication. In this study, 1 of 25 patients in the NPPV group and 2 of 25 patients in the IMV group could not be weaned after 60 days in the ICU.
NPPV After Extubation of COPD Patients From IMV
The literature was reviewed to identify studies examining the effectiveness of NPPV compared with UMC in preventing recurrence of ARF after extubation from IMV or treating acute ARF which has recurred after extubation from IMV. No studies that included only COPD patients or reported results for COPD patients separately were identified for the prevention of ARF postextubation.
One study was identified for the treatment of ARF in COPD patients that recurred within 48 hours of extubation from IMV. This study included 221 patients, of whom 23 had COPD. A post hoc subgroup analysis was conducted examining the rate of reintubation in the COPD patients only. A nonsignificant reduction in the rate of reintubation was observed in the NPPV group compared with the UMC group (7 of 14 patients vs. 6 of 9 patients, P = 0.67). GRADE: low
Conclusions
NPPV Plus UMC Versus UMC Alone for First Line Treatment of ARF due to Acute Exacerbations of COPD
Moderate quality of evidence showed that compared with UMC, NPPV plus UMC significantly reduced the need for endotracheal intubation, inhospital mortality, and the mean length of hospital stay.
Low quality of evidence showed a lower rate of complications in the NPPV plus UMC group compared with the UMC group.
NPPV Versus IMV for the Treatment of ARF in Patients Who Have Failed UMC
Due to inconsistent and low to very low quality of evidence, there was insufficient evidence to draw conclusions on the comparison of NPPV versus IMV for patients who failed UMC.
NPPV for Weaning COPD Patients From IMV
Moderate quality of evidence showed that weaning COPD patients from IMV using NPPV results in significant reductions in mortality, nosocomial pneumonia, and weaning failure compared with weaning with IMV.
Low quality of evidence showed a nonsignificant reduction in the mean LOS and mean duration of mechanical ventilation in the NPPV group compared with the IMV group.
NPPV for the Treatment of ARF in COPD Patients After Extubation From IMV
Low quality of evidence showed a nonsignificant reduction in the rate of reintubation in the NPPV group compared with the UMC group; however, there was inadequate evidence to draw conclusions on the effectiveness of NPPV for the treatment of ARF in COPD patients after extubation from IMV
PMCID: PMC3384377  PMID: 23074436
18.  Relationship between exacerbation frequency and lung function decline in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Thorax  2002;57(10):847-852.
Background: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterised by both an accelerated decline in lung function and periods of acute deterioration in symptoms termed exacerbations. The aim of this study was to investigate whether these are related.
Methods: Over 4 years, peak expiratory flow (PEF) and symptoms were measured at home daily by 109 patients with COPD (81 men; median (IQR) age 68.1 (63–74) years; arterial oxygen tension (PaO2) 9.00 (8.3–9.5) kPa, forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) 1.00 (0.7–1.3) l, forced vital capacity (FVC) 2.51 (1.9–3.0) l); of these, 32 (29 men) recorded daily FEV1. Exacerbations were identified from symptoms and the effect of frequent or infrequent exacerbations (> or < 2.92 per year) on lung function decline was examined using cross sectional, random effects models.
Results: The 109 patients experienced 757 exacerbations. Patients with frequent exacerbations had a significantly faster decline in FEV1 and peak expiratory flow (PEF) of –40.1 ml/year (n=16) and –2.9 l/min/year (n=46) than infrequent exacerbators in whom FEV1 changed by –32.1 ml/year (n=16) and PEF by –0.7 l/min/year (n=63). Frequent exacerbators also had a greater decline in FEV1 if allowance was made for smoking status. Patients with frequent exacerbations were more often admitted to hospital with longer length of stay. Frequent exacerbations were a consistent feature within a patient, with their number positively correlated (between years 1 and 2, 2 and 3, 3 and 4).
Conclusions: These results suggest that the frequency of exacerbations contributes to long term decline in lung function of patients with moderate to severe COPD.
doi:10.1136/thorax.57.10.847
PMCID: PMC1746193  PMID: 12324669
19.  Exacerbations among chronic bronchitis patients treated with maintenance medications from a US managed care population: an administrative claims data analysis 
Purpose
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations are the leading cause of hospital admission and death among chronic bronchitis (CB) patients. This study estimated annual COPD exacerbation rates, related costs, and their predictors among patients treated for CB.
Methods
This was a retrospective study using claims data from the HealthCore Integrated Research Database (HIRDSM). The study sample included CB patients aged ≥ 40 years with at least one inpatient hospitalization or emergency department visit or at least two office visits with CB diagnosis from January 1, 2004 to May 31, 2011, at least two pharmacy fills for COPD medications during the follow-up year, and ≥2 years of continuous enrollment. COPD exacerbations were categorized as severe or moderate. Annual rates, costs, and predictors of exacerbations during follow-up were assessed.
Results
A total of 17,382 individuals treated for CB met the selection criteria (50.6% female; mean ± standard deviation age 66.7 ± 11.4 years). During the follow-up year, the mean ± standard deviation number of COPD maintenance medication fills was 7.6 ± 6.3; 42.6% had at least one exacerbation and 69.5% of patients with two or more exacerbations during the 1 year prior to the index date (baseline period) had any exacerbation during the follow-up year. The mean ± standard deviation cost per any exacerbation was $269 ± $748 for moderate and $18,120 ± $31,592 for severe exacerbation. The number of baseline exacerbations was a significant predictor of the number of exacerbations and exacerbation costs during follow-up.
Conclusion
Exacerbation rates remained high among CB patients despite treatment with COPD maintenance medications. New treatment strategies, designed to reduce COPD exacerbations and associated costs, should focus on patients with high prior-year exacerbations.
doi:10.2147/COPD.S40437
PMCID: PMC3624965  PMID: 23589684
chronic bronchitis; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exacerbations; maintenance medications; managed care
20.  Clinical Features according to the Frequency of Acute Exacerbation in COPD 
Background
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is now regarded as a heterogenous disease, with variable phenotypes. Acute exacerbation of COPD is a major event that alters the natural course of disease. The frequency of COPD exacerbation is variable among patients. We analyzed clinical features, according to the frequency of acute exacerbation in COPD.
Methods
Sixty patients, who visited Gyeongsang National University Hospital from March 2010 to October 2010, were enrolled. Patients were divided into two groups, according to their frequency of acute exacerbation. Frequent exacerbator is defined as the patient who has two or more exacerbation per one year. We reviewed patients' medical records and investigated modified Medical Research Council (MMRC) dyspnea scale, smoking history and frequency of acute exacerbation. We also conducted pulmonary function test and 6-minute walking test, calculated body mass index, degree of airway obstruction and dyspnea and exercise capacity (BODE) index and measured CD146 cells in the peripheral blood.
Results
The number of frequent exacerbators and infrequent exacerbators was 20 and 40, respectively. The frequent exacerbator group had more severe airway obstruction (forced expiratory volume in one second [FEV1], 45% vs. 65.3%, p=0.001; FEV1/forced vital capacity, 44.3% vs. 50.5%, p=0.046). MMRC dyspnea scale and BODE index were significantly higher in the frequent exacerbator group (1.8 vs. 1.1, p=0.016; 3.9 vs. 2.1, p=0.014, respectively). The fraction of CD146 cells significantly increased in the frequent exacerbator group (2.0 vs. 1.0, p<0.001).
Conclusion
Frequent exacerbator had more severe airway obstruction and higher symptom score and BODE index. However, circulating endothelial cells measured by CD146 needed to be confirmed in the future.
doi:10.4046/trd.2012.72.4.367
PMCID: PMC3510288  PMID: 23227078
Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive; Phenotype; Endothelial Cells
21.  Predictors of cardiovascular disease in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Background
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a common comorbidity in patients with chronic airway obstruction, and is associated with systemic inflammation and airway obstruction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the predictors of CVD in two different conditions causing chronic airway obstruction, asthma and COPD.
Methods
Lung function tests, clinical and echocardiographic data were assessed in 229 consecutive patients, 100 with asthma and 129 with COPD. CVD was classified into: pressure overload (PO) and volume overload (VO). Sub-analysis of patients with ischemic heart disease (IHD) and pulmonary hypertension (PH) was also performed.
Results
CVD was found in 185 patients (81%: 51% COPD and 30% asthmatics) and consisted of PO in 42% and of VO in 38% patients. COPD patients, as compared to asthmatics, had older age, more severe airway obstruction, higher prevalence of males, of smokers, and of CVD (91% vs 68%), either PO (46% vs 38%) or VO (45% vs 30%). CVD was associated with older age and more severe airway obstruction both in asthma and COPD. In the overall patients the predictive factors of CVD were age, COPD, and male sex; those of PO were COPD, BMI, VC, FEV1 and MEF50 and those of VO were age, VC and MEF50. In asthma, the predictors of CVD were VC, FEV1, FEV1 /VC%, and PaO2, those of PO were VC, FEV1 and FEV1 /VC%, while for VO there was no predictor. In COPD the predictors of CVD were age, GOLD class and sex, those of VO age, VC and MEF50, and that of PO was BMI. Sub-analysis showed that IHD was predicted by COPD, age, BMI and FEV1, while PH (found only in 25 COPD patients), was predicted by VO (present in 80% of the patients) and FEV1. In subjects aged 65 years or more the prevalence of CVD, PO and VO was similar in asthmatic and COPD patients, but COPD patients had higher prevalence of males, smokers, IHD, PH, lower FEV1 and higher CRP.
Conclusions
The results of this study indicate that cardiovascular diseases are frequent in patients with chronic obstructive disorders, particularly in COPD patients. The strongest predictors of CVD are age and airway obstruction. COPD patients have higher prevalence of ischemic heart disease and pulmonary hypertension. In the elderly the prevalence of PO and VO in asthma and COPD patients is similar.
doi:10.1186/2049-6958-8-58
PMCID: PMC3844573  PMID: 24004921
Airway obstruction; Asthma; Cardiovascular disease; COPD; Pressure overload; Volume overload
22.  Cardiovascular Risk, Myocardial Injury, and Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have elevated cardiovascular risk, and myocardial injury is common during severe exacerbations. Little is known about the prevalence, magnitude, and underlying mechanisms of cardiovascular risk in community-treated exacerbations.
Objectives: To investigate how COPD exacerbations and exacerbation frequency impact cardiovascular risk and myocardial injury, and whether this is related to airway infection and inflammation.
Methods: We prospectively measured arterial stiffness (aortic pulse wave velocity [aPWV]) and cardiac biomarkers in 98 patients with stable COPD. Fifty-five patients had paired stable and exacerbation assessments, repeated at Days 3, 7, 14, and 35 during recovery. Airway infection was identified using polymerase chain reaction.
Measurements and Main Results: COPD exacerbation frequency was related to stable-state arterial stiffness (rho = 0.209; P = 0.040). Frequent exacerbators had greater aPWV than infrequent exacerbators (mean ± SD aPWV, 11.4 ± 2.1 vs. 10.3 ± 2.0 ms−1; P = 0.025). Arterial stiffness rose by an average of 1.2 ms−1 (11.1%) from stable state to exacerbation (n = 55) and fell slowly during recovery. In those with airway infection at exacerbation (n = 24) this rise was greater (1.4 ± 1.6 vs. 0.7 ± 1.3 ms−1; P = 0.048); prolonged; and related to sputum IL-6 (rho = 0.753; P < 0.001). Increases in cardiac biomarkers at exacerbation were higher in those with ischemic heart disease (n = 12) than those without (n = 43) (mean ± SD increase in troponin T, 0.011 ± 0.009 vs. 0.003 ± 0.006 μg/L, P = 0.003; N-terminal pro–brain natriuretic peptide, 38.1 ± 37.7 vs. 5.9 ± 12.3 pg/ml, P < 0.001).
Conclusions: Frequent COPD exacerbators have greater arterial stiffness than infrequent exacerbators. Arterial stiffness rises acutely during COPD exacerbations, particularly with airway infection. Increases in arterial stiffness are related to inflammation, and are slow to recover. Myocardial injury is common and clinically significant during COPD exacerbations, particularly in those with underlying ischemic heart disease.
doi:10.1164/rccm.201306-1170OC
PMCID: PMC3863745  PMID: 24033321
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exacerbation; arterial stiffness; troponin; brain natriuretic peptide
23.  Effect of thyroid function on COPD exacerbation frequency: a preliminary study 
Background
Frequent exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have negative effects on quality of life and survival. Thus, factors related to exacerbations should be determined. We aimed to evaluate the effects of thyroid function on quality of life and exacerbation frequency in COPD patients.
Methods
The study population (n = 128) was divided into 3 groups (Group 1: COPD patients with hypothyroidism (n = 44); Group 2: COPD patients with normal thyroid function tests (n = 44); Group 3: Healthy subjects (n = 40)). Pulmonary function tests, maximum inspiratory pressure (MIP) and maximum expiratory pressure (MEP) measurements were performed. Quality of life questionnaire (Short Form 36, SF-36) was carried out. Patients were followed up for one year and number of exacerbations was recorded.
Results
FVC, FEV1/FVC, and FEF 25–75% measurements were statistically different between group 1 and 2 (p = 0.041, p = 0.001, p = 0.009 respectively). Although MEP values were significantly different between group 1 and 2 (p = 0.006), there was no significant difference in MIP values between groups (p = 0.77). Quality of life scores in group 1 and 2 were significantly lower than control group. Exacerbation frequency was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2 (p = 0.017). TSH values and exacerbation frequency had positive correlation (p < 0.0001; r = 0.82).
Conclusions
The results of the present study suggest that thyroid function has an effect in exacerbation frequency of COPD. Decrease in exacerbation numbers with early detection of impairment in thyroid function will have positive contribution on quality of life in COPD patients.
doi:10.1186/2049-6958-8-64
PMCID: PMC3845712  PMID: 24079533
COPD; Exacerbation frequency; Hypothyroidism; Quality of life
24.  Assessment of severity measures for acute asthma outcomes: a first step in developing an asthma clinical prediction rule☆ 
Objective
As a first step in the development of an asthma prediction rule, our primary objective was to assess the association of 8 candidate predictor variables with 2 clinically relevant asthma outcomes.
Methods
Among a cohort of 125 adults hospitalized with an asthma exacerbation, we examined models to identify clinical variables associated with length of stay (LOS) and clinically significant asthma exacerbations within 3 months after hospitalization (3-month exacerbation). Eight candidate predictor variables were chosen, including age, sex, race, pulsus paradoxus, prior endotracheal intubation for asthma, hospitalization within 5 years for asthma, and 2 chronic asthma severity scores.
Results
We found independent associations between LOS and pulsus paradoxus (P = .005), prior intubation (P = .03), sex (P = .03), and prior hospitalization (P = .019). Among men, 52% had a 3-month exacerbation in comparison with 25% of women; and in multivariable analysis, male sex was independently associated with 3-month exacerbation (adjusted odds ratio = 5.1; 95% confidence interval = 1.37-18.9; P = .015). Participants with 3-month exacerbation had higher Johns Hopkins Allergy and Asthma Composite (JHAAC) chronic severity scores (median = 77; interquartile range = 57-91) than those who did not (median = 54; interquartile range = 35-69; P < .001) (for 40-unit increase, adjusted OR for 3-month exacerbation = 1.54; 95% confidence interval = 1.16-2.03; P = .003). In multivariable analysis, male sex and the JHAAC severity score were independently associated with 3-month exacerbation.
Conclusions
Elevated pulsus paradoxus, prior intubation for asthma, and 5-year asthma hospitalization are independently associated with LOS. Race, 5-year asthma hospitalization, and JHAAC score predict 3-month asthma exacerbation. These variables warrant consideration for use in the development of an asthma prediction rule.
doi:10.1016/j.ajem.2007.05.026
PMCID: PMC3760484  PMID: 18410819
25.  Effect of exacerbations on quality of life in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a 2 year follow up study 
Thorax  2004;59(5):387-395.
Background: A study was undertaken to evaluate exacerbations and their impact on the health related quality of life (HRQL) of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Methods: A 2 year follow up study was performed in 336 patients with COPD of mean (SD) age 66 (8.2) years and mean (SD) forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) 33 (8)% predicted. Spirometric tests, questions regarding exacerbations of COPD, and HRQL measurements (St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) and SF-12 Health Survey) were conducted at 6 month intervals.
Results: A total of 1015 exacerbations were recorded, and 103 (30.7%) patients required at least one hospital admission during the study. After adjustment for baseline characteristics and season of assessment, frequent exacerbations had a negative effect on HRQL in patients with moderate COPD (FEV1 35–50% predicted); the change in SGRQ total score of moderate patients with ⩾3 exacerbations was almost two points per year greater (worse) than those with <3 exacerbations during the follow up (p = 0.042). For patients with severe COPD (FEV1 <35% predicted) exacerbations had no effect on HRQL. The change in SGRQ total score of patients admitted to hospital was almost 2 points per year greater (worse) than patients not admitted, but this effect failed to show statistical significance in any severity group. There was a significant and independent seasonal effect on HRQL since SGRQ total scores were, on average, 3 points better in measurements performed in spring/summer than in those measured in the winter (p<0.001).
Conclusions: Frequent exacerbations significantly impair HRQL of patients with moderate COPD. A significant and independent effect of seasonality was also observed.
doi:10.1136/thx.2003.008730
PMCID: PMC1746989  PMID: 15115864

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