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1.  Effectiveness of the Assessment of Burden of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (ABC) tool: study protocol of a cluster randomised trial in primary and secondary care 
BMC Pulmonary Medicine  2014;14:131.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a growing worldwide problem that imposes a great burden on the daily life of patients. Since there is no cure, the goal of treating COPD is to maintain or improve quality of life. We have developed a new tool, the Assessment of Burden of COPD (ABC) tool, to assess and visualize the integrated health status of patients with COPD, and to provide patients and healthcare providers with a treatment algorithm. This tool may be used during consultations to monitor the burden of COPD and to adjust treatment if necessary. The aim of the current study is to analyse the effectiveness of the ABC tool compared with usual care on health related quality of life among COPD patients over a period of 18 months.
A cluster randomised controlled trial will be conducted in COPD patients in both primary and secondary care throughout the Netherlands. An intervention group, receiving care based on the ABC tool, will be compared with a control group receiving usual care. The primary outcome will be the change in score on a disease-specific-quality-of-life questionnaire, the Saint George Respiratory Questionnaire. Secondary outcomes will be a different questionnaire (the COPD Assessment Test), lung function and number of exacerbations. During the 18 months follow-up, seven measurements will be conducted, including a baseline and final measurement. Patients will receive questionnaires to be completed at home. Additional data, such as number of exacerbations, will be recorded by the patients’ healthcare providers. A total of 360 patients will be recruited by 40 general practitioners and 20 pulmonologists. Additionally, a process evaluation will be performed among patients and healthcare providers.
The new ABC tool complies with the 2014 Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease guidelines, which describe the necessity to classify patients on both their airway obstruction and a comprehensive symptom assessment. It has been developed to classify patients, but also to provide visual insight into the burden of COPD and to provide treatment advice.
Trial registration
Netherlands Trial Register, NTR3788.
PMCID: PMC4130125  PMID: 25098313
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Disease burden; Quality of life; Patient reported outcomes; Shared decision making; GPs; Pulmonologists; Patient empowerment
2.  Remission of screen-detected metabolic syndrome and its determinants: an observational study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:778.
Early detection and treatment of the metabolic syndrome may prevent diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our aim was to assess remission of the metabolic syndrome and its determinants after a population based screening without predefined intervention in the Netherlands.
In 2006 we detected 406 metabolic syndrome cases (The National Cholesterol Education Program’s Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III) definition) among apparently healthy individuals with an increased waist circumference. They received usual care in a primary care setting. After three years metabolic syndrome status was re-measured. We evaluated which baseline determinants were independently associated with remission.
The remission rate among the 194 participants was 53%. Baseline determinants independently associated with a remission were the presence of more than three metabolic syndrome components (OR 0.46) and higher levels of waist circumference (OR 0.91), blood pressure (OR 0.98) and fasting glucose (OR 0.60).
In a population with screen-detected metabolic syndrome receiving usual care, more than half of the participants achieved a remission after three years. This positive result after a relatively simple strategy provides a solid basis for a nation-wide implementation. Not so much socio-demographic variables but a higher number and level of the metabolic syndrome components were predictors of a lower chance of remission. In such cases, primary care physicians should be extra alert.
PMCID: PMC3491000  PMID: 22971223
Metabolic syndrome; Abdominal obesity; Screening; Cardiovascular risk; Primary care
3.  High-sensitivity C-reactive protein to detect metabolic syndrome in a centrally obese population: a cross-sectional analysis 
People with central obesity have an increased risk for developing the metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, a substantial part of obese individuals have no other cardiovascular risk factors, besides their obesity. High sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP), a marker of systemic inflammation and a predictor of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, is associated with the metabolic syndrome and its separate components. We evaluated the use of hs-CRP to discriminate between centrally obese people with and without the metabolic syndrome.
1165 people with central obesity but without any previous diagnosis of hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, aged 20-70 years, underwent a physical examination and laboratory assays to determine the presence of the metabolic syndrome (NCEP ATP III criteria). Multivariable linear regression analyses were performed to assess which metabolic syndrome components were independently associated with hs-CRP. A ROC curve was drawn and the area under the curve was calculated to evaluate whether hs-CRP was capable to predict the presence of the metabolic syndrome.
Median hs-CRP levels were significantly higher in individuals with central obesity with the metabolic syndrome (n = 417; 35.8%) compared to individuals with central obesity without the metabolic syndrome (2.2 mg/L (IQR 1.2-4.0) versus 1.7 mg/L (IQR 1.0-3.4); p < 0.001). Median hs-CRP levels increased with an increasing number of metabolic syndrome components present. In multivariable linear regression analyses, waist circumference and triglycerides were the only components that were independently associated with hs-CRP after adjusting for smoking, gender, alcohol consumption and the other metabolic syndrome components. The area under the ROC curve was 0.57 (95%-CI 0.53-0.60).
Hs-CRP has limited capacity to predict the presence of the metabolic syndrome in a population with central obesity.
PMCID: PMC3359236  PMID: 22417460
Abdominal obesity; Metabolic syndrome; Screening; High-sensitivity C-reactive protein
4.  Advanced glycation end products measured by skin autofluorescence in a population with central obesity 
Dermato-endocrinology  2012;4(1):33-38.
Accumulation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) is enhanced by chronic hyperglycemia and oxidative stress and this process may contribute to the pathogenesis of vascular disease. Skin autofluorescence (AF), a measure of accumulation of AGEs in skin collagen, is associated with vascular disease in patients with diabetes.
Because central obesity enhances oxidative stress people with central obesity might already have increased accumulation of AGEs before diabetes or cardiovascular disease become manifest. To test this hypothesis, we compared the distribution of skin AF and its association with clinical and biochemical parameters in individuals with and without central obesity.
Skin AF was measured by a validated AGE Reader in 816 persons with and 431 persons without central obesity, aged 20–70 y.
Mean skin AF increased with age and smoking and was higher in centrally obese individuals compared with non-obese individuals (p = 0.001, after adjustment for age and smoking p = 0.13). Mean skin AF in the subgroups without central obesity and without other risk factors (n = 106), central obesity without other risk factors (n = 74) and central obesity with other risk factors (n = 742) was 1.63 ± 0.37, 1.74 ± 0.44 and 1.87 ± 0.43 AU, respectively (p for trend < 0.001, after adjustment for age and smoking p for trend = 0.12).
In the group with central obesity age, current smoking, alcohol consumption, waist circumference, creatinine clearance and hs-CRP were independently associated with skin AF (R2 = 29.4%). Waist circumference hardly contributed to the explained variance. The relationship between waist circumference and skin AF is not as obvious as we hypothesized.
PMCID: PMC3408990  PMID: 22870350
advanced glycation endproducts; central obesity; skin autofluorescence
5.  Incidence and determinants of moderate COPD (GOLD II) in male smokers aged 40–65 years: 5-year follow up 
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a major health problem with an estimated prevalence of 10–15% among smokers. The incidence of moderate COPD, as defined by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), is largely unknown.
To determine the cumulative incidence of moderate COPD (forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity ratio [FEV1/FVC] <0.7 and FEV1 <80% predicted) and its association with patient characteristics in a cohort of male smokers.
Prospective cohort study.
The city of IJsselstein, a small town in the Netherlands.
Smokers aged 40–65 years who were registered with local GPs, participated in a study to identify undetected COPD. Baseline measurements were taken in 1998 of 399 smokers with normal spirometry (n = 292) or mild COPD (FEV1/FVC <0.7 and FEV1 ≥80% predicted, n = 107) and follow-up measurements were conducted in 2003.
After a mean follow-up of 5.2 years, 33 participants developed moderate COPD (GOLD II). This showed an estimated cumulative incidence of 8.3% (95% CI = 5.8 to 11.4) and a mean annual incidence of 1.6%. No participant developed severe airflow obstruction. The risk of developing moderate COPD in smokers with baseline mild COPD (GOLD I) was five times higher than in those with baseline normal spirometry (one in five versus one in 25).
In a cohort of middle-aged male smokers, the estimated cumulative incidence of moderate COPD (GOLD II) over 5 years was relatively high (8.3%). Age, childhood smoking, cough, and one or more GP contacts for lower respiratory tract problems were independently associated with incident moderate COPD.
PMCID: PMC1876630  PMID: 16953996
incidence; middle-age; moderate COPD; patient characteristics; smokers

Results 1-5 (5)