Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are important events that carry significant consequences for patients. Some patients experience frequent exacerbations, and are now recognized as a distinct clinical subgroup, the ‘frequent exacerbator’ phenotype. This is relatively stable over time, occurs across disease severity, and is associated with poorer health outcomes. These patients are therefore a priority for research and treatment. The pathophysiology underlying the frequent exacerbator phenotype is complex, with increased airway and systemic inflammation, dynamic lung hyperinflation, changes in lower airway bacterial colonization and a possible increased susceptibility to viral infection. Frequent exacerbators are also at increased risk from comorbid extrapulmonary diseases including cardiovascular disease, gastroesophageal reflux, depression, osteoporosis and cognitive impairment. Overall these patients have poorer health status, accelerated forced expiratory volume over 1 s (FEV1) decline, worsened quality of life, and increased hospital admissions and mortality, contributing to increased exacerbation susceptibility and perpetuation of the frequent exacerbator phenotype. This review article sets out the definition and importance of the frequent exacerbator phenotype, with a detailed examination of its pathophysiology, impact and interaction with other comorbidities.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Exacerbations; Frequent exacerbator phenotype; Comorbidities
Prophylactic treatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) for 3 months or more is associated with a reduction in the frequency of exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This raises the question of whether treatment with NAC during an acute exacerbation will hasten recovery from the exacerbation.
We have examined this in a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Subjects, admitted to hospital with an acute exacerbation of COPD, were randomised within 24 h of admission to treatment with NAC 600 mg b.d. (n = 25) or matching placebo (n = 25). Treatment continued for 7 days or until discharge (whichever occurred first). To be eligible subjects had to be ≥ 50 years, have an FEV1 ≤ 60% predicted, FEV1/VC ≤ 70% and ≥ 10 pack year smoking history. Subjects with asthma, heart failure, pneumonia and other respiratory diseases were excluded. All subjects received concurrent treatment with prednisone 40 mg/day, nebulised salbutamol 5 mg q.i.d and where appropriate antibiotics. FEV1, VC, SaO2 and breathlessness were measured 2 hours after a dose of nebulised salbutamol, at the same time each day. Breathlessness was measured on a seven point Likert scale.
At baseline FEV1 (% predicted) was 22% in the NAC group and 24% in the control group. There was no difference between the groups in the rate of change of FEV1, VC, SaO2 or breathlessness. Nor did the groups differ in the median length of stay in hospital (6 days for both groups).
Addition of NAC to treatment with corticosteroids and bronchodilators does not modify the outcome in acute exacerbations of COPD.
Many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) continue to suffer exacerbations, even when treated with maximum recommended therapy (eg, inhaled combinations of long-acting β2-agonist and high dose inhaled corticosteroids, with or without a long-acting anticholinergic [long-acting muscarinic antagonist]). Roflumilast is approved to treat severe COPD in patients with chronic bronchitis – and a history of frequent exacerbations – as an add-on to bronchodilators.
The REACT (Roflumilast in the Prevention of COPD Exacerbations While Taking Appropriate Combination Treatment) study (identification number RO-2455-404-RD, clinicaltrials. gov identifier NCT01329029) will investigate whether roflumilast further reduces exacerbations when added to inhaled combination therapy in patients still suffering from frequent exacerbations.
Patients and methods
REACT is a 1-year randomized, double-blind, multicenter, phase III/IV study of roflumilast 500 μg once daily or placebo on top of a fixed long-acting β2-agonist/inhaled corticosteroid combination. A concomitant long-acting muscarinic antagonist will be allowed at stable doses. The primary outcome is the rate of moderate or severe COPD exacerbations. Using a Poisson regression model with a two-sided significance level of 5%, a sample size of 967 patients per treatment group is needed for 90% power. COPD patients with severe to very severe airflow limitation, symptoms of chronic bronchitis, and at least two exacerbations in the previous year will be recruited.
It is hypothesized that because roflumilast (a phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor) has a different mode of action to bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids, it may provide additional benefits when added to these treatments in frequent exacerbators. REACT will be important to determine the role of roflumilast in COPD management. Here, the design and rationale for this important study is described.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; roflumilast; protocol; LABA; ICS; exacerbation
In April 2010, the European Medicines Agency Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use recommended approval of roflumilast, a selective phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor, for the “maintenance treatment of severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, FEV1 postbronchodilator less than 50% predicted) associated with chronic bronchitis in adult patients with a history of frequent exacerbations as add-on to bronchodilator treatment”. This decision was based, in part, on the results of several large, international, multicenter, randomized, placebo-controlled trials of either six or 12 months’ duration that had been undertaken in COPD patients. Roflumilast 500 μg daily improved lung function and reduced exacerbations in patients with more severe COPD, especially those with chronic bronchitis, frequent exacerbations, or who required frequent rescue inhaler therapy in the placebo-controlled trials. It also improved lung function and reduced exacerbations in patients with moderately severe COPD treated with salmeterol or tiotropium. Advantages of roflumilast over inhaler therapy are that it is an oral tablet and only needs to be taken once daily. While taking roflumilast, the most common adverse effects patients experienced were gastrointestinal upset and headache. Weight loss, averaging 2.2 kg, occurred in patients treated with roflumilast. Patients taking roflumilast were more likely to drop out of the trials than patients in the control groups. Patients who discontinued therapy usually did so during the first few weeks and were more likely to have experienced gastrointestinal side effects. Roflumilast is the first selective phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor and will offer physicians another treatment option for patients with more severe COPD.
roflumilast; phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitor; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exacerbation
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed in exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, the role of bacteria in these exacerbations is controversial.
To identify clinical predictors of bacterial infection as a cause of exacerbation, considering the protected specimen brush (PSB) as the gold standard.
Clinical data, sputum and PSB samples were collected from 40 patients with COPD requiring hospitalisation due to severe exacerbations who had not received previous antibiotic treatment.
Quantitative cultures of PSB samples (n = 40) yielded 23 potential pathogenic microorganisms (PPMs) at concentrations of ⩾102 colony‐forming units/ml in 18 (45%) patients. Sputum samples were obtained from all 40 patients. Culture of good‐quality sputum samples (n = 18) yielded 16 PPMs corresponding to 14 (35%) patients. The concordance between the PSB and sputum rate was high (κ = 0.85, p<0.002). The self‐reporting patient observation of sputum purulence (odds ratio (OR) 27.20 (95% confidence interval (CI) 4.60 to 60.69), p = 0.001), the percentage predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV1%) <50 (OR 2.27 (95% CI 1.55 to 3.21), p = 0.014), >4 exacerbations in the past year (OR 6.9 (95% CI 0.08 to 1.08), p = 0.028) and previous hospitalisations due to COPD (OR 4.13 (95% CI 1.02 to 16.07), p = 0.041) were associated with the presence of PPMs in the distal airways. The operative characteristics for predicting distal airway infection when patients presented with purulent exacerbation were as follows: sensitivity 89.5%, specificity 76.2%, positive predicted value 77.3% and negative predicted value 88.9%.
The self‐reporting presence of purulence in the sputum, as well as common previous exacerbations and hospitalisations due to COPD in patients with severe airflow obstruction (FEV1% <50) predict the presence of bacterial infection in the distal airways. The use of these clinical variables may help in selecting candidates to receive antibiotic treatment.
There is increasing interest in health care resource use (HRU) in Canada, particularly in resources associated with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
To identify HRU due to exacerbations of COPD.
A 52-week, multicentre, prospective, observational study of HRU due to exacerbations in patients with moderate to severe COPD was performed. Patients were recruited from primary care physicians and respirologists in urban and rural centres in Canada.
In total, 524 subjects (59% men) completed the study. Their mean age was 68.2±9.4 years, with a forced expiratory volume in 1 s of 1.01±0.4 L. Patients had significant comorbidities. There were 691 acute exacerbations of COPD, which occurred in 53% of patients: 119 patients (23%) experienced one acute exacerbation, 70 patients (13%) had two acute exacerbations and 89 patients (17%) had three or more acute exacerbations. Seventy-five patients were admitted to hospital, with an average length of stay of 13.2 days. Fourteen of the patients spent time in an intensive care unit (average length of stay 5.6 days). Factors associated with acute exacerbations of COPD included lower forced expiratory volume in 1 s (P<0.001), high number of respiratory medications prescribed (P=0.037), regular use of oral corticosteroids (OCSs) (P=0.008) and presence of depression (P<0.001). Of the 75 patients hospitalized, only 53 received OCSs, four received referral for rehabilitation and 15 were referred for home care.
The present study showed a high prevalence of COPD exacerbations, which likely impacted on HRU. There was evidence of a lack of appropriate management of exacerbations, especially with respect to use of OCSs, and referral for pulmonary rehabilitation and home care.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Exacerbations; Health care resource use
To date, clinico-physiologic indices have not been compared with quantitative CT imaging indices in determining the risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbation. We therefore compared clinico-physiologic and CT imaging indices as risk factors for COPD exacerbation in patients with COPD. We retrospectively analyzed 260 COPD patients from pulmonary clinics at 11 hospitals in Korea from June 2005 to November 2009 and followed-up for at least one year. At the time of enrollment, none of these patients had COPD exacerbations for at least 2 months. All underwent clinico-physiologic and radiological evaluation for risk factors of COPD exacerbation. After 1 yr, 106 of the 260 patients had at least one exacerbation of COPD. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that old age, high Charlson Index, and low FEV1 were significant in a clinico-physiologic model, with C-statistics of 0.69, and that increased age and emphysema index were significant in a radiologic model, with C-statistics of 0.64. The difference between the two models was statistically significant (P = 0.04 by bootstrap analysis). Combinations of clinico-physiologic risk factors may be better than those of imaging risk factors in predicting COPD exacerbation.
Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive; Exacerbation; Risk Factors; Computed Tomography
To quantify the relationship between severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as expressed by Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stage and the annual exacerbation frequency in patients with COPD.
We performed a systematic literature review to identify randomized controlled trials and cohort studies reporting the exacerbation frequency in COPD patients receiving usual care or placebo. Annual frequencies were determined for total exacerbations defined by an increased use of health care (event-based), total exacerbations defined by an increase of symptoms, and severe exacerbations defined by a hospitalization. The association between the mean forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1)% predicted of study populations and the exacerbation frequencies was estimated using weighted log linear regression with random effects. The regression equations were applied to the mean FEV1% predicted for each GOLD stage to estimate the frequency per stage.
Thirty-seven relevant studies were found, with 43 reports of total exacerbation frequency (event-based, n = 19; symptom-based, n = 24) and 14 reports of frequency of severe exacerbations. Annual event-based exacerbation frequencies per GOLD stage were estimated at 0.82 (95% confidence interval 0.46–1.49) for mild, 1.17 (0.93–1.50) for moderate, 1.61 (1.51–1.74) for severe, and 2.10 (1.51–2.94) for very severe COPD. Annual symptom-based frequencies were 1.15 (95% confidence interval 0.67–2.07), 1.44 (1.14–1.87), 1.76 (1.70–1.88), and 2.09 (1.57–2.82), respectively. For severe exacerbations, annual frequencies were 0.11 (95% confidence interval 0.02–0.56), 0.16 (0.07–0.33), 0.22 (0.20–0.23), and 0.28 (0.14–0.63), respectively. Study duration or type of study (cohort versus trial) did not significantly affect the outcomes.
This study provides an estimate of the exacerbation frequency per GOLD stage, which can be used for health economic and modeling purposes.
COPD; exacerbations; disease severity; GOLD; review; regression
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.
asthma; COPD; respiratory virus; exacerbation; overlap syndrome; human rhinovirus; respiratory syncytial virus
Exacerbations are important disease events for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) as they are relatively frequent, result in significant resource use and can indicate worsening disease. Little is known about variation in COPD exacerbation rates across a health system in various geographic regions.
To compare COPD exacerbation rates by regional service networks called Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) in the Veterans Health Administration (VA) system.
Retrospective, observational study.
Patients with a COPD diagnosis from October 1999 to September 2000 with follow-up to September 2002.
Acute exacerbations of COPD during the baseline and follow-up periods.
A total of 198,981 patients were identified. Average exacerbation rate at baseline was 0.503 events per person per year. In the follow-up period, there were 187,686 exacerbations experienced by 87,494 persons (44.0% of cohort). During follow-up, the average adjusted exacerbation rate was 0.589 per person per year and varied from 0.335 (95% CI, 0.328–0.342) in VISN 1 to 0.749 (95% CI, 0.735–0.0.763) in VISN 9. Using the median rate of exacerbation during the baseline period as the referent, 9 VISNs had lower adjusted rate ratios and 12 VISNs had higher adjusted rate ratios in the follow-up period.
Geographic variation in the VA VISN system supports evidence that the medical care system including provider factors, and less so patient factors, affect COPD exacerbations. Understanding the reasons underlying this variation in COPD exacerbation rates may lead to improvements in future care and outcomes.
COPD; exacerbation; geographic variation; outcomes
Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are natural events in the progression of the disease, and are characterised by acute worsening of symptoms, especially dyspnoea. These heterogeneous events follow increased airway inflammation, often due to infection, and lead to decreased airflow and increased lung hyperinflation relative to stable COPD. Although exacerbation frequency generally increases as COPD progresses, some patients experience frequent exacerbations (≥2 per year) independently of disease severity. Exacerbations, especially frequent exacerbations, are associated with impaired health-related quality of life, reduced physical activity and poor disease prognosis.
The cornerstone of pharmacotherapy for stable COPD is long-acting bronchodilators, including the long-acting β2-agonists (LABAs) and long-acting anti-muscarinic agents (LAMAs) alone or combined with inhaled corticosteroids (ICS). While ICS treatment can potentially reduce the risk of exacerbations, clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of LABAs and LAMAs in reducing COPD symptoms, primarily by reducing lung hyperinflation secondary to reduced airway resistance. Sustained reduction in lung hyperinflation may in turn lessen dyspnoea during an exacerbation. Indeed, recent studies suggest that bronchodilators may also reduce the incidence of, or prevent, exacerbations.
Using data from recent studies, this review explores the evidence and possible mechanisms through which bronchodilators may prevent exacerbations.
Bronchodilator; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; dyspnoea; exacerbations; long-acting anti-muscarinic agent; long-acting β2-agonists
Rationale: Respiratory virus infections are associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exacerbations, but a causative relationship has not been proven. Studies of naturally occurring exacerbations are difficult and the mechanisms linking virus infection to exacerbations are poorly understood. We hypothesized that experimental rhinovirus infection in subjects with COPD would reproduce the features of naturally occurring COPD exacerbations and is a valid model of COPD exacerbations.
Objectives: To evaluate experimental rhinovirus infection as a model of COPD exacerbation and to investigate the mechanisms of virus-induced exacerbations.
Methods: We used experimental rhinovirus infection in 13 subjects with COPD and 13 nonobstructed control subjects to investigate clinical, physiologic, pathologic, and antiviral responses and relationships between virus load and these outcomes.
Measurements and Main Results: Clinical data; inflammatory mediators in blood, sputum, and bronchoalveolar lavage; and viral load in nasal lavage, sputum, and bronchoalveolar lavage were measured at baseline and after infection with rhinovirus 16. After rhinovirus infection subjects with COPD developed lower respiratory symptoms, airflow obstruction, and systemic and airway inflammation that were greater and more prolonged compared with the control group. Neutrophil markers in sputum related to clinical outcomes and virus load correlated with inflammatory markers. Virus load was higher and IFN production by bronchoalveolar lavage cells was impaired in the subjects with COPD.
Conclusions: We have developed a new model of COPD exacerbation that strongly supports a causal relationship between rhinovirus infection and COPD exacerbations. Impaired IFN production and neutrophilic inflammation may be important mechanisms in virus-induced COPD exacerbations.
disease exacerbation; respiratory tract infections; COPD; rhinovirus
The outcome after hospitalization for an exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is unfavorable and uncertainty exists about factors predicting short and long-term prognosis.
To identify clinical predictors of length of hospital stay (LOS) and three-year mortality after COPD exacerbations requiring hospitalization.
Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data.
PARTICIPANTS AND METHODS
All consecutive patients hospitalized with COPD exacerbation were enrolled. Disease severity was estimated by FEV1, body mass index (BMI), Medical Research Council (MRC) chronic dyspnoea scale, previous hospitalizations, need for long-term oxygen treatment (LTOT), arterial oxygen and carbon dioxide partial pressures (PaO2 and PaCO2), pH and respiratory rate. Outcome was assessed by LOS and three-year mortality.
Out of 81 patients enrolled, three-year mortality data were available for 61. LOS was related to BMI, MRC scale and respiratory rate. Three-year mortality was related to FEV1, BMI, MRC scale, LTOT, and PaCO2. Multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated that MRC scale was the only independent determinant of LOS, [ = 0.001, odds ratio (OR) 7.67 (95% CI 2.50–23.41)], whereas MRC scale and BMI predicted three-year mortality, [ = 0.001, OR 8.28 (95% CI 2.25–30.47) and = 0.006, OR 6.91 (95% CI 1.74–27.48), respectively]. Cox regression analysis demonstrated identical results. Using receiver-operator-optimized thresholds for these variables (MRC > 2 and BMI < 25 kg/m2), we propose a prediction model that accurately determines three-year mortality risk.
In this study, MRC scale and BMI predicted outcome after COPD hospitalization. Pending further validation, this predictive model may contribute to identify patients with poor outcome even when spirometric data are unavailable.
body mass index; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; dyspnoea; length of hospital stay; mortality
The Global initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) staging has widely used in the stratification of the severity of COPD, while BODE (body mass index, airflow obstruction, dyspnea, and exercise capacity) index was proven superior to FEV1 in predicting mortality, exacerbation and disease severity in patients with COPD. Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ), a questionnaire with ten items categorized into three domains (symptoms, functional state and mental state) was developed to measure health status of COPD patients. However, little is known about the relationship between CCQ score and BODE index. We performed a prospective study with the inclusion of 89 patients who were clinically stable after a 6-week-therapy for COPD symptoms comparing their health status assessed by CCQ, BODE index and GOLD staging. We found that the total CCQ score was correlated with BODE score (P < 0.001) and GOLD staging (P < 0.001); of three CCQ domains, the functional status correlated the most with BODE index (rS = 0.670) and GOLD staging (rS = 0.531), followed by symptoms (rS = 0.482; rS = 0.346, respectively), and mental status (rS = 0.340; rS = 0.236, respectively). Our data suggest that CCQ is a reliable and convenient alternative tool to evaluate the severity of COPD.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive; Phenotype; Endothelial Cells
Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can experience 'exacerbations' of their conditions. An exacerbation is an event defined in terms of subjective descriptors or symptoms, namely dyspnoea, cough and sputum that worsen sufficiently to warrant a change in medical management. There is a need for reliable markers that reflect the pathological mechanisms that underlie exacerbation severity and that can be used as a surrogate to assess treatment effects in clinical studies. Little is known as to how existing study variables and suggested markers change in both the stable and exacerbation phases of COPD. In an attempt to find the best surrogates for exacerbations, we have reviewed the literature to identify which of these markers change in a consistent manner with the severity of the exacerbation event.
We have searched standard databases between 1966 to July 2004 using major keywords and terms. Studies that provided demographics, spirometry, potential markers, and clear eligibility criteria were included in this study. Central tendencies and dispersions for all the variables and markers reported and collected by us were first tabulated according to sample size and ATS/ERS 2004 Exacerbation Severity Levels I to III criteria. Due to the possible similarity of patients in Levels II and III, the data was also redefined into categories of exacerbations, namely out-patient (Level I) and in-patient (Levels II & III combined). For both approaches, we performed a fixed effect meta-analysis on each of the reported variables.
We included a total of 268 studies reported between 1979 to July 2004. These studies investigated 142,407 patients with COPD. Arterial carbon dioxide tension and breathing rate were statistically different between all levels of exacerbation severity and between in out- and in-patient settings. Most other measures showed weak relationships with either level or setting, or they had insufficient data to permit meta-analysis.
Arterial carbon dioxide and breathing rate varied in a consistent manner with exacerbation severity and patient setting. Many other measures showed weak correlations that should be further explored in future longitudinal studies or assessed using suggested mathematical modelling techniques.
Our understanding of the etiology, pathogenesis and consequences of acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has increased substantially in the last decade. Several new lines of evidence demonstrate that bacterial isolation from sputum during acute exacerbation in many instances reflects a cause-effect relationship. Placebo-controlled antibiotic trials in exacerbations of COPD demonstrate significant clinical benefits of antibiotic treatment in moderate and severe episodes. However, in the multitude of antibiotic comparison trials, the choice of antibiotics does not appear to affect the clinical outcome, which can be explained by several methodological limitations of these trials. Recently, comparison trials with nontraditional end-points have shown differences among antibiotics in the treatment of exacerbations of COPD. Observational studies that have examined clinical outcome of exacerbations have repeatedly demonstrated certain clinical characteristics to be associated with treatment failure or early relapse. Optimal antibiotic selection for exacerbations has therefore incorporated quantifying the risk for a poor outcome of the exacerbation and choosing antibiotics differently for low risk and high risk patients, reserving the broader spectrum drugs for the high risk patients. Though improved outcomes in exacerbations with antibiotic choice based on such risk stratification has not yet been demonstrated in prospective controlled trials, this approach takes into account concerns of disease heterogeneity, antibiotic resistance and judicious antibiotic use in exacerbations.
COPD; exacerbation; bronchitis; antibiotics
Our objective was to assess the 5-year cost effectiveness of bronchodilator therapy with tiotropium, salmeterol or ipratropium for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from the perspective of the Spanish National Health System (NHS). A probabilistic Markov model was designed wherein patients moved between moderate, severe or very severe COPD and had the risk of exacerbation and death. Probabilities were derived from clinical trials. Spanish healthcare utilisation, costs and utilities were estimated for each COPD and exacerbation state. Outcomes were exacerbations, exacerbation-free months, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), and cost(-effectiveness). The mean (SE) 5-year number of exacerbations was 3.50 (0.14) for tiotropium, 4.16 (0.40) for salmeterol and 4.71 (0.54) for ipratropium. The mean (SE) number of QALYs was 3.15 (0.08), 3.02 (0.15) and 3.00 (0.20), respectively. Mean (SE) 5-year costs were €6,424 (€305) for tiotropium, €5,869 (€505) for salmeterol, and €5,181 (€682) for ipratropium (2005 values). Ipratropium and tiotropium formed the cost-effectiveness frontier, with tiotropium being preferred when willingness to pay (WTP) exceeded €639 per exacerbation-free month and €8,157 per QALY. In Spain, tiotropium demonstrated the highest expected net benefit for ratios of the willingness to pay per QALY, well within accepted limits.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); Bronchodilators; Model; Cost effectiveness; Quality-adjusted life year (QALY); Spain
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.
Acute exacerbations in chronic onstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are common and systemic steroids play an important role in the management of these cases along with the bronchodilators. Nebulized budesonide is being used in the acute attacks of bronchial asthma either in children or in adults. But the role of nebulized steroids in acute exacerbation of COPD is not much studied in the literature. In this clinical review we have evaluated the role of nebulized corticosteroids in the management of acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD). Through Medline, Pubmed and Embase we analyzed the various studies that has been done to study the role of nebulized corticosteroids in the management of acute exacerbation of COPD. The key words used for the search criteria were: acute exacerbation, COPD, nebulized corticosteroids, budesonide, fluticasone. Only eight studies were found which had evaluated the role of nebulized corticosteroids in acute exacerbations of COPD. All these studies had used nebulized budesonide in AECOPD in different dosages, and had been compared with both either parental or oral steroids, and standard bronchodilator therapy. All the studies had found the clinical efficacy of nebulized budesonide to be of similar extent to that of either parental or oral steroids in AECOPD. Side effects profile of nebulized budesonide was minimal and acceptable as compared to systemic steroids. Nebulized budesonide may be an alternative to parental/oral prednisolone in the treatment of acute exacerbations of COPD but further studies should be done to evaluate its long-term impact on clinical outcomes after an initial episode of COPD exacerbation.
Budesonide; COPD; corticosteroids; exacerbation; nebulized steroids
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of disability and mortality. Caring for patients with COPD, particularly those with advanced disease who experience frequent exacerbations, places a significant burden on health care budgets, and there is a global need to reduce the financial and personal burden of COPD. Evolving scientific evidence on the natural history and clinical course of COPD has fuelled a fundamental shift in our approach to the disease. The emergence of data highlighting the heterogeneity in rate of lung function decline has altered our perception of disease progression in COPD and our understanding of appropriate strategies for the management of stable disease. These data have demonstrated that early, effective, and prolonged bronchodilation has the potential to slow the rate of decline in lung function and to reduce the frequency of exacerbations that contribute to functional decline. The goals of therapy for COPD are no longer confined to controlling symptoms, reducing exacerbations, and maintaining quality of life, and slowing disease progression is now becoming an achievable aim. A challenge for the future will be to capitalize on these observations by improving the identification and diagnosis of patients with COPD early in the course of their disease, so that effective interventions can be introduced before the more advanced, disabling, and costly stages of the disease. Here we critically review emerging data that underpin the advances in our understanding of the clinical course and management of COPD, and evaluate both current and emerging pharmacologic options for effective maintenance treatment.
COPD; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; long-acting bronchodilator; early treatment
Epidemics of hospitalization for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) occur annually during the Christmas holidays, and COPD exacerbations commonly coincide with respiratory viral infections.
To compare the incidence and determinants of COPD exacerbations occurring between the Christmas holiday period and the remainder of the winter season.
Seventy-one subjects with COPD of mixed severity faxed daily symptom diaries to a computer monitoring system from December 1, 2006, to April 30, 2007. Possible exacerbations prompted a home visit for assessment, spirometry and specimen collection for virological testing.
Study subjects submitted a total of 95.4% of possible daily symptom diary sheets by fax. Of 114 possible COPD exacerbations detected using the faxed diaries, 110 met the Anthonisen criteria for true exacerbations. A total of 47 exacerbations (mean 6.7/week) occurred during the Christmas holiday period, while 63 exacerbations (mean 4.3/week) occurred during the remainder of winter. Of the Christmas period exacerbations and of those in the balance of winter, 21 (44%) and 20 (32%), respectively, coincided with respiratory viral infections.
The incidence of COPD exacerbations during the Christmas period was greater than during the rest of winter in 2006/2007 and peaked immediately before Christmas – in contrast to hospital presentation for COPD, which peaked during the Christmas week. No clear role of respiratory viral infections in the increased rate of exacerbations during the Christmas period was established in the present study. COPD patients were highly compliant with daily symptom reporting using faxed daily diaries, which permitted nearly complete detection of all exacerbations that occurred at incidence.
Christmas; COPD; Epidemiology; Respiratory viruses
Rationale: Exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and responses to treatment are heterogeneous.
Objectives: Investigate the usefulness of blood eosinophils to direct corticosteroid therapy during exacerbations.
Methods: Subjects with COPD exacerbations were entered into a randomized biomarker-directed double-blind corticosteroid versus standard therapy study. Subjects in the standard arm received prednisolone for 2 weeks, whereas in the biomarker-directed arm, prednisolone or matching placebo was given according to the blood eosinophil count biomarker. Both study groups received antibiotics. Blood eosinophils were measured in the biomarker-directed and standard therapy arms to define biomarker-positive and -negative exacerbations (blood eosinophil count > and ≤ 2%, respectively). The primary outcome was to determine noninferiority in health status using the chronic respiratory questionnaire (CRQ) and in the proportion of exacerbations associated with a treatment failure between subjects allocated to the biomarker-directed and standard therapy arms.
Measurements and Main Results: There were 86 and 80 exacerbations in the biomarker-directed and standard treatment groups, respectively. In the biomarker-directed group, 49% of the exacerbations were not treated with prednisolone. CRQ improvement after treatment in the standard and biomarker-directed therapy groups was similar (0.8 vs. 1.1; mean difference, 0.3; 95% confidence interval, 0.0–0.6; P = 0.05). There was a greater improvement in CRQ in biomarker-negative exacerbations given placebo compared with those given prednisolone (mean difference, 0.45; 95% confidence interval, 0.01–0.90; P = 0.04). In biomarker-negative exacerbations, treatment failures occurred in 15% given prednisolone and 2% of those given placebo (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: The peripheral blood eosinophil count is a promising biomarker to direct corticosteroid therapy during COPD exacerbations, but larger studies are required.
Clinical trial registered with www.controlled-trials.com (ISRCTN92422949).
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exacerbations; prednisolone; infection; eosinophils
Although chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major global health burden there is a lack of patient awareness of disease severity, particularly in relation to exacerbations.
We conducted a global patient survey using an innovative, internet-based methodology to gain insight into patient perceptions of COPD and exacerbations in a real-world sample typical of today’s working-age COPD population.
Two thousand patients with COPD (53%), chronic bronchitis (52%) and/or emphysema (22%) from 14 countries completed an online questionnaire developed by the authors. The Medical Research Council (MRC) breathlessness scale was used to delineate symptom severity. Over three quarters of patients (77%) had experienced an exacerbation, with 27% of MRC 1 and 2 patients and 52% of MRC 3, 4 and 5 patients requiring hospitalization as a result of an exacerbation. While a majority of MRC 1 and 2 patients (51%) reported being back to normal within a few days of an exacerbation, 23% of MRC 3, 4 and 5 patients took several weeks to return to normal and 6% never fully recovered. A high proportion of patients (39%) took a ‘wait and see’ approach to exacerbations.
Despite the high prevalence of exacerbations and their negative impact on quality of life, 73% of MRC 1 and 2 patients and 64% of MRC 3, 4 and 5 patients felt that they had control of their COPD. However, 77% of all patients were worried about their long-term health, and 38% of MRC 1 and 2 patients and 59% of MRC 3, 4 and 5 patients feared premature death due to COPD.
To reduce the adverse effects of COPD on patients’ quality of life and address their fears for the future, we need better patient education and improved prevention and treatment of exacerbations.
COPD; Exacerbation; Patient-reported; Survey
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Indications for the use of long-acting β2-agonists (LABAs) and inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in patients with COPD are described in the various international guidelines, but no special recommendations are made concerning the use of combination inhalers containing a LABA as well as an ICS. To determine the place of combination inhalers in the treatment of COPD we reviewed recent literature concerning this subject. On molecular level ICS/LABA combination therapy has anti-inflammatory properties which cannot be attributed to ICS alone. All clinical studies indicate that the two available combinations (salmeterol/fluticasone and formoterol/budesonide) significantly reduce exacerbation rate of moderate/severe exacerbations when compared with placebo. Some studies also showed a significant reduction in exacerbation rate compared with LABA monotherapy, but not compared with ICS monotherapy. From the patient’s perspective, ICS/LABA combination inhalers are the first choice when both need to be prescribed, possibly improving patient compliance for ICS. Currently little evidence is available to predict if flexible treatment with LABA/ICS combination inhalers will improve disease control in COPD. Further studies are needed to elucidate the clinical benefit of combination inhalers versus the individual components in different inhalers, and to investigate the clinical benefit of flexible dosing of combination inhalers in patients with COPD.
COPD; long-acting β2-agonists; inhaled corticosteroids