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1.  Analysis of the Plasma Proteome in COPD: Novel Low Abundance Proteins Reflect the Severity of Lung Remodeling 
COPD  2013;11(2):177-189.
The search for COPD biomarkers has largely employed a targeted approach that focuses on plasma proteins involved in the systemic inflammatory response and in lung injury and repair. This proof of concept study was designed to test the idea that an open, unbiased, in-depth proteomics approach could identify novel, low abundance plasma proteins i.e., ng/mL concentration, which could serve as potential biomarkers. Differentially expressed proteins were identified in a discovery group with severe COPD (FEV1 <45% predicted; n = 10). Subjects with normal lung function matched for age, sex, ethnicity and smoking history served as controls (n = 10). Pooled plasma from each group was exhaustively immunodepleted of abundant proteins, d separated by 1-D gel electrophoresis and extensively fractionated prior to LC-tandem mass spectroscopy (GeLC-MS). Thirty one differentially expressed proteins were identified in the discovery group including markers of lung defense against oxidant stress, alveolar macrophage activation, and lung tissue injury and repair. Four of the 31 proteins (i.e., GRP78, soluble CD163, IL1AP and MSPT9) were measured in a separate verification group of 80 subjects with varying COPD severity by immunoassay. All 4 were significantly altered in COPD and 2 (GRP78 and soluble CD163) correlated with both FEV1 and the extent of emphysema. In-depth, plasma proteomic analysis identified a group of novel, differentially expressed, low abundance proteins that reflect known pathogenic mechanisms and the severity of lung remodeling in COPD. These proteins may also prove useful as COPD biomarkers.
PMCID: PMC4497366  PMID: 24111704
biomarkers; emphysema; COPDgene®
2.  Predictors of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Exacerbation Reduction in Response to Daily Azithromycin Therapy 
Rationale: Daily azithromycin decreases acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD), but long-term side effects are unknown.
Objectives: To identify the types of exacerbations most likely to be reduced and clinical subgroups most likely to benefit from azithromycin, 250 mg daily, added to usual care.
Methods: Enrollment criteria included irreversible airflow limitation and AECOPD requiring corticosteroids, emergency department visit, or hospitalization in the prior year or use of supplemental oxygen. Recurrent events and cumulative incidence analyses compared treatment received for AECOPD by randomization group, stratified by subgroups of interest. Cox proportional hazards models estimated treatment effects in subgroups adjusted for age, sex, smoking status, FEV1% predicted, concomitant COPD medications, and oxygen use.
Measurements and Main Results: Azithromycin was most effective in reducing AECOPD requiring both antibiotic and steroid treatment (n = 1,113; cumulative incidence analysis, P = 0.0002; recurrent events analysis, P = 0.002). No difference in treatment response by sex (P = 0.75), presence of chronic bronchitis (P = 0.19), concomitant inhaled therapy (P = 0.29), or supplemental oxygen use (P = 0.23) was observed. Older age and milder Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stage were associated with better treatment response (P = 0.02 and 0.04, respectively). A significant interaction between treatment and current smoking was seen (P = 0.03) and azithromycin did not reduce exacerbations in current smokers (hazard ratio, 0.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.71–1.38; P = 0.95).
Conclusions: Azithromycin is most effective in preventing AECOPD requiring both antibiotic and steroid treatment. Adjusting for confounders, we saw no difference in efficacy by sex, history of chronic bronchitis, oxygen use, or concomitant COPD therapy. Greater efficacy was seen in older patients and milder Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease stages. We found little evidence of treatment effect among current smokers.
Clinical trial registered with (NCT0011986 and NCT00325897).
PMCID: PMC4226018  PMID: 24779680
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; exacerbation; quality of life; azithromycin
3.  Heart Failure and Respiratory Hospitalizations Are Reduced in Patients With Heart Failure and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease With the Use of an Implantable Pulmonary Artery Pressure Monitoring Device 
Journal of cardiac failure  2014;21(3):240-249.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a frequent comorbidity in patients with heart failure (HF). Elevated pulmonary arterial (PA) pressure can be seen in both conditions and has been shown to predict morbidity and mortality.
Methods and Results
A total of 550 subjects with New York Heart Association functional class III HF were randomly assigned to the treatment (n = 270) and control (n = 280) groups in the CHAMPION Trial. Physicians had access to the PA pressure measurements in the treatment group only, in which HF therapy was used to lower the elevated pressures. HF and respiratory hospitalizations were compared in both groups. A total of 187 subjects met criteria for classification into the COPD subgroup. In the entire cohort, the treatment group had a 37% reduction in HF hospitalization rates (P < .0001) and a 49% reduction in respiratory hospitalization rates (P = .0061). In the COPD subgroup, the treatment group had a 41% reduction in HF hospitalization rates (P = .0009) and a 62% reduction in respiratory hospitalization rates (P = .0023). The rate of respiratory hospitalizations in subjects without COPD was not statistically different (P = .76).
HF management incorporating hemodynamic information from an implantable PA pressure monitor significantly reduces HF and respiratory hospitalizations in HF subjects with comorbid COPD compared with standard care.
PMCID: PMC4405122  PMID: 25541376
Heart failure; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; implantable pulmonary artery pressure monitor; hospitalization
4.  Risk Factors for Venous Thromboembolism in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
COPD patients are at increased risk for venous thromboembolism (VTE). VTE however remains under-diagnosed in this population and the clinical profile of VTE in COPD is unclear.
Global initiative for chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stages II-IV participants in the COPD Genetic Epidemiology (COPDGene) study were divided into 2 groups: VTE+, those who reported a history of VTE by questionnaire, and VTE−, those who did not. We compared variables in these 2 groups with either t-test or chi-squared test for continuous and categorical variables, respectively. We performed a univariate logistic regression for VTE, and then a multivariate logistic regression using the significant predictors of interest in the univariate analysis to ascertain the determinants of VTE.
The VTE+ group was older, more likely to be Caucasian, had a higher body mass index (BMI), smoking history, used oxygen, had a lower 6-minute walk distance, worse quality of life scores, and more dyspnea and respiratory exacerbations than the VTE− group. Lung function was not different between groups. A greater percentage of the VTE+ group described multiple medical comorbidities. On multivariate analysis, BMI, 6-minute walk distance, pneumothorax, peripheral vascular disease, and congestive heart failure significantly increased the odds for VTE by history.
BMI, exercise capacity, and medical comorbidities were significantly associated with VTE in moderate to severe COPD. Clinicians should suspect VTE in patients who present with dyspnea and should consider possibilities other than infection as causes of COPD exacerbation.
PMCID: PMC4382082  PMID: 25844397
COPD; venous thromboembolism; VTE; peripheral vascular disease; PVD; pulmonary embolism
Respiratory medicine  2013;108(3):491-499.
As the clinical significance of chronic bronchitis among smokers without airflow obstruction is unclear, we sought to determine morbidity associated with this disorder.
We examined subjects from the COPDGene study and compared those with FEV1/FVC ≥0.70, no diagnosis of asthma and chronic bronchitis as defined as a history of cough and phlegm production for ≥3 months/year for ≥2 years (NCB) to non-obstructed subjects without chronic bronchitis (CB−). Multivariate analysis was used to determine factors associated with and impact of NCB.
We identified 597 NCB and 4,283 CB− subjects. NCB participants were younger (55.4 vs. 57.2 years, p<0.001) with greater tobacco exposure (42.9 vs. 37.8 pack-years, p<0.001) and more often current smokers; more frequently reported occupational exposure to fumes (52.8% vs. 42.2%, p<0.001), dust for ≥1 year (55.3% vs. 42.0%, p<0.001) and were less likely to be currently working. NCB subjects demonstrated worse quality-of-life (SGRQ 35.6 vs. 15.1, p<0.001) and exercise capacity (walk distance 415 vs. 449 m, p<0.001) and more frequently reported respiratory “flare-ups” requiring treatment with antibiotics or steroids (0.30 vs. 0.10 annual events/subject, p<0.001) prior to enrollment and during follow-up (0.34 vs. 0.16 annual events/subject, p<0.001). In multivariate analysis, current smoking, GERD, sleep apnea and occupational exposures were significantly associated with NCB.
While longitudinal data will be needed to determine whether NCB progresses to COPD, NCB patients have poorer quality-of-life, exercise capacity and frequent respiratory events. Beyond smoking cessation interventions, further research is warranted to determine the benefit of other therapeutics in this population.
PMCID: PMC3943716  PMID: 24280543
Cough; quality of life; gastroesophageal reflux; occupational exposure; GERD; tobacco
6.  Self-reported sleep quality and acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease 
Many patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) suffer from poor sleep quality. We hypothesized that poor sleep quality in otherwise stable patients predicted exacerbations in these patients.
This is a secondary analysis of the results of a previously published randomized trial of azithromycin in 1,117 patients with moderate to severe COPD who were clinically stable on enrollment. Sleep quality was measured using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Other quality of life indices included the Medical Outcome Study 36-item Short Form Health Survey and the St Georges Respiratory Questionnaire. Outcomes included time to first exacerbation and exacerbation rate.
Sleep quality was “poor” (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index >5) in 53% of participants but was not related to age or severity of airflow obstruction. Quality of life scores were worse in “poor” sleepers than in “good” sleepers. Major classes of comorbid conditions, including psychiatric, neurologic, and musculoskeletal disease, were more prevalent in the “poor” sleepers. Unadjusted time to first exacerbation was shorter (190 versus 239 days) and exacerbation rate (1.7 versus 1.37 per year) was greater in the poor sleepers, but no differences were observed after adjusting for medications and comorbid conditions associated with poor sleep.
Poor sleepers had greater exacerbation rates than did good sleepers. This appeared to be due largely to them having more, or more severe, concomitant medical conditions and taking more medications.
PMCID: PMC4345936  PMID: 25759571
Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; SF-36; St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire
8.  Chronic Bronchitis and Current Smoking Are Associated with More Goblet Cells in Moderate to Severe COPD and Smokers without Airflow Obstruction 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(2):e0116108.
Goblet cell hyperplasia is a classic but variable pathologic finding in COPD. Current literature shows that smoking is a risk factor for chronic bronchitis but the relationship of these clinical features to the presence and magnitude of large airway goblet cell hyperplasia has not been well described. We hypothesized that current smokers and chronic bronchitics would have more goblet cells than nonsmokers or those without chronic bronchitis (CB), independent of airflow obstruction.
We recruited 15 subjects with moderate to severe COPD, 12 healthy smokers, and 11 healthy nonsmokers. Six endobronchial mucosal biopsies per subject were obtained by bronchoscopy and stained with periodic acid Schiff-Alcian Blue. Goblet cell density (GCD) was quantified as goblet cell number per millimeter of basement membrane. Mucin volume density (MVD) was quantified as volume of mucin per unit area of basement membrane.
Healthy smokers had a greater GCD and MVD than nonsmokers and COPD subjects. COPD subjects had a greater GCD than nonsmokers. When current smokers (healthy smokers and COPD current smokers, n = 19) were compared with all nonsmokers (nonsmoking controls and COPD ex-smokers, n = 19), current smokers had a greater GCD and MVD. When those with CB (n = 12) were compared to those without CB (n = 26), the CB group had greater GCD. This finding was also seen in those with CB in the COPD group alone. In multivariate analysis, current smoking and CB were significant predictors of GCD using demographics, lung function, and smoking pack years as covariates. All other covariates were not significant predictors of GCD or MVD.
Current smoking is associated with a more goblet cell hyperplasia and number, and CB is associated with more goblet cells, independent of the presence of airflow obstruction. This provides clinical and pathologic correlation for smokers with and without COPD.
PMCID: PMC4315442  PMID: 25646735
9.  Histone 3.3 Participates in a Self-Sustaining Cascade of Apoptosis That Contributes to the Progression of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Shifts in the gene expression of nuclear protein in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a progressive disease that is characterized by extensive lung inflammation and apoptosis, are common; however, the extent of the elevation of the core histones, which are the major components of nuclear proteins and their consequences in COPD, has not been characterized, which is important because extracellular histones are cytotoxic to endothelial and airway epithelial cells.
Objectives: To investigate the role of extracellular histones in COPD disease progression.
Methods: We analyzed the nuclear lung proteomes of ex-smokers with and without the disease. Further studies on the consequences of H3.3 were also performed.
Measurements and Main Results: A striking finding was a COPD-specific eightfold increase of hyperacetylated histone H3.3. The hyperacetylation renders H3.3 resistant to proteasomal degradation despite ubiquitination; when combined with the reduction in proteasome activity that is known for COPD, this resistance helps account for the increased levels of H3.3. Using anti-H3 antibodies, we found H3.3 in the airway lumen, alveolar fluid, and plasma of COPD samples. H3.3 was cytotoxic to lung structural cells via a mechanism that involves the perturbation of Ca2+ homeostasis and mitochondrial toxicity. We used the primary human airway epithelial cells and found that the antibodies to either the C or N terminus of H3 could partially reverse H3.3 toxicity.
Conclusions: Our data indicate that there is an uncontrolled positive feedback loop in which the damaged cells release acetylated H3.3, which causes more damage, adds H3.3 release, and contributes toward the disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3826185  PMID: 23924319
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; histone H3.3; acetylation; cytotoxicity; proteomics
10.  Airway wall thickness is increased in COPD patients with bronchodilator responsiveness 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):84.
Bronchodilator responsiveness (BDR) is a common but variable phenomenon in COPD. The CT characteristics of airway dimensions that differentiate COPD subjects with BDR from those without BDR have not been well described. We aimed to assess airway dimensions in COPD subjects with and without BDR.
We analyzed subjects with GOLD 1–4 disease in the COPDGene® study who had CT airway analysis. We divided patients into two groups: BDR + (post bronchodilator ΔFEV1 ≥ 10%) and BDR-(post bronchodilator ΔFEV1 < 10%). The mean wall area percent (WA%) of six segmental bronchi in each subject was quantified using VIDA. Using 3D SLICER, airway wall thickness was also expressed as the square root wall area of an airway of 10 mm (Pi10) and 15 mm (Pi15) diameter. %Emphysema and %gas trapping were also calculated.
2355 subjects in the BDR-group and 1306 in the BDR + group formed our analysis. The BDR + group had a greater Pi10, Pi15, and mean segmental WA% compared to the BDR-group. In multivariate logistic regression using gender, race, current smoking, history of asthma, %emphysema, %gas trapping, %predicted FEV1, and %predicted FVC, airway wall measures remained independent predictors of BDR. Using a threshold change in FEV1 ≥ 15% and FEV1 ≥ 12% and 200 mL to divide patients into groups, the results were similar.
BDR in COPD is independently associated with CT evidence of airway pathology. This study provides us with greater evidence of changes in lung structure that correlate with physiologic manifestations of airflow obstruction in COPD.
PMCID: PMC4198908  PMID: 25248436
Bronchodilator responsiveness; Airway wall thickness; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Airflow obstruction
11.  Clinical and computed tomographic predictors of chronic bronchitis in COPD: a cross sectional analysis of the COPDGene study 
Respiratory Research  2014;15(1):52.
Chronic bronchitis (CB) has been related to poor outcomes in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). From a clinical standpoint, we have shown that subjects with CB in a group with moderate to severe airflow obstruction were younger, more likely to be current smokers, male, Caucasian, had worse health related quality of life, more dyspnea, and increased exacerbation history compared to those without CB. We sought to further refine our clinical characterization of chronic bronchitics in a larger cohort and analyze the CT correlates of CB in COPD subjects. We hypothesized that COPD patients with CB would have thicker airways and a greater history of smoking, acute bronchitis, allergic rhinitis, and occupational exposures compared to those without CB.
We divided 2703 GOLD 1–4 subjects in the Genetic Epidemiology of COPD (COPDGene®) Study into two groups based on symptoms: chronic bronchitis (CB+, n = 663, 24.5%) and no chronic bronchitis (CB-, n = 2040, 75.5%). Subjects underwent extensive clinical characterization, and quantitative CT analysis to calculate mean wall area percent (WA%) of 6 segmental airways was performed using VIDA PW2 ( Square roots of the wall areas of bronchi with internal perimeters 10 mm and 15 mm (Pi10 and Pi15, respectively), % emphysema, %gas trapping, were calculated using 3D Slicer (
There were no differences in % emphysema (11.4 ± 12.0 vs. 12.0 ± 12.6%, p = 0.347) or % gas trapping (35.3 ± 21.2 vs. 36.3 ± 20.6%, p = 0.272) between groups. Mean segmental WA% (63.0 ± 3.2 vs. 62.0 ± 3.1%, p < 0.0001), Pi10 (3.72 ± 0.15 vs. 3.69 ± 0.14 mm, p < 0.0001), and Pi15 (5.24 ± 0.22 vs. 5.17 ± 0.20, p < 0.0001) were greater in the CB + group. Greater percentages of gastroesophageal reflux, allergic rhinitis, histories of asthma and acute bronchitis, exposures to dusts and occupational exposures, and current smokers were seen in the CB + group. In multivariate binomial logistic regression, male gender, Caucasian race, a lower FEV1%, allergic rhinitis, history of acute bronchitis, current smoking, and increased airway wall thickness increased odds for having CB.
Histories of asthma, allergic rhinitis, acute bronchitis, current smoking, a lower FEV1%, Caucasian race, male gender, and increased airway wall thickness are associated with CB. These data provide clinical and radiologic correlations to the clinical phenotype of CB.
PMCID: PMC4067738  PMID: 24766722
Chronic bronchitis; Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; Airway thickening; Asthma
12.  Randomized Trial of Zileuton for Treatment of COPD Exacerbations Requiring Hospitalization 
COPD  2011;8(1):21-29.
Leukotrienes have been implicated in the pathogenesis of acute exacerbations of COPD, but leukotriene modifiers have not been studied as a possible therapy for exacerbations.
We sought to test the safety and efficacy of adding oral zileuton (a 5-lipoxygenase inhibitor) to usual treatment for acute exacerbations of COPD requiring hospitalization.
Randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel group study of zileuton 600 mg orally, 4 times daily versus placebo for 14 days starting within 12 hours of hospital admission for COPD exacerbation. Primary outcome measure was hospital length of stay; secondary outcomes included treatment failure and biomarkers of leukotriene production.
Main Findings
Sixty subjects were randomized to zileuton and 59 to placebo (the study was stopped short of enrollment goals because of slow recruitment). There was no difference in hospital length of stay (3.75±2.19 vs. 3.86±3.06 days for zileuton vs. placebo, p=0.39) or treatment failure (23% vs. 27% for zileuton vs. placebo, p=0.63) despite a decline in urinary LTE4 levels in the zileuton-treated group as compared to placebo at 24 hours (change in natural log-transformed ng/mg creatinine −1.38± 1.19 vs. 0.14±1.51, p<0.0001) and 72 hours (−1.32±2.08 vs. 0.26±1.93, p<0.006). Adverse events were similar in both groups.
Principal Conclusions
While oral zileuton during COPD exacerbations that require hospital admission is safe and reduces urinary LTE4 levels, we found no evidence suggesting that this intervention shortened hospital stay, with the limitation that our sample size may have been insufficient to detect a modest but potentially meaningful clinical improvement.
PMCID: PMC3775706  PMID: 21299475
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD); Acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD); Leukotrienes; Zileuton; Clinical trial
13.  Long-term Comparative Immunogenicity of Protein Conjugate and Free Polysaccharide Pneumococcal Vaccines in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
The Food and Drug Adminstration recently approved a diphtheria-conjugated pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine for adults, although its long-term immunogenicity is unknown. We report that, in patients with moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, conjugate vaccination elicits a superior immune response to free-polysaccharide vaccine that persists for >2 years.
Background. Although the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against invasive disease in young healthy persons, randomized controlled trials in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) have demonstrated no benefit in the intention-to-treat population. We previously reported that the 7-valent diphtheria-conjugated pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PCV7) is safe and induced greater serotype-specific immunoglobulin G (IgG) and functional antibody than did PPSV23 1 month after vaccination. We hypothesized that these advantages would persist at 1 and 2 years.
Methods. One hundred eighty-one patients with moderate to severe COPD were randomized to receive PPSV23 (n = 90) or PCV7 (1.0 mL; n = 91). We measured IgG by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and assessed functional antibody activity by a standardized opsonophagocytosis assay, reported as a killing index (OPK). We determined differences in IgG and OPK between vaccine groups at 1 and 2 years.
Results. Relative to PPSV23, PCV7 induced greater OPK at both 1 and 2 years for 6 of 7 serotypes (not 19F). This response was statistically greater for 5 of 7 serotypes at 1 year and 4 of 7 at 2 years. Comparable differences in IgG were observed but were less often statistically significant. Despite meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria for PPSV23 administration, almost 50% of individuals had never been vaccinated. No differences in the frequency of acute exacerbations, pneumonia, or hospitalization were observed.
Conclusions. PCV7 induces a greater functional antibody response than PPSV23 in patients with COPD that persists for 2 years after vaccination. This superior functional response supports testing of conjugate vaccination in studies examining clinical end points.
Clinical Trials Registration: NCT00457977.
PMCID: PMC3491850  PMID: 22652582
14.  A combined pulmonary -radiology workshop for visual evaluation of COPD: study design, chest CT findings and concordance with quantitative evaluation 
COPD  2012;9(2):151-159.
The purposes of this study were: to describe chest CT findings in normal non-smoking controls and cigarette smokers with and without COPD; to compare the prevalence of CT abnormalities with severity of COPD; and to evaluate concordance between visual and quantitative chest CT (QCT) scoring
Volumetric inspiratory and expiratory CT scans of 294 subjects, including normal non-smokers, smokers without COPD, and smokers with GOLD Stage I-IV COPD, were scored at a multi-reader workshop using a standardized worksheet. There were fifty-eight observers (33 pulmonologists, 25 radiologists); each scan was scored by 9–11 observers. Interobserver agreement was calculated using kappa statistic. Median score of visual observations was compared with QCT measurements.
Interobserver agreement was moderate for the presence or absence of emphysema and for the presence of panlobular emphysema; fair for the presence of centrilobular, paraseptal, and bullous emphysema subtypes and for the presence of bronchial wall thickening; and poor for gas trapping, centrilobular nodularity, mosaic attenuation, and bronchial dilation. Agreement was similar for radiologists and pulmonologists. The prevalence on CT readings of most abnormalities (e.g. emphysema, bronchial wall thickening, mosaic attenuation, expiratory gas trapping) increased significantly with greater COPD severity, while the prevalence of centrilobular nodularity decreased. Concordances between visual scoring and quantitative scoring of emphysema, gas trapping and airway wall thickening were 75%, 87% and 65%, respectively.
Despite substantial inter-observer variation, visual assessment of chest CT scans in cigarette smokers provides information regarding lung disease severity; visual scoring may be complementary to quantitative evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3752926  PMID: 22429093
15.  Automated Telecommunication to Obtain Longitudinal Follow-up in a Multicenter Cross-sectional COPD Study 
COPD  2012;9(5):466-472.
It can be challenging to maintain longitudinal follow-up of subjects in clinical studies. COPDGene is a multicenter, observational study designed to identify genetic factors associated with COPD and to characterize COPD-related phenotypes. To obtain follow-up data on patient's vital status and outcomes, the COPDGene Longitudinal Follow-up (LFU) Program was developed to supplement its parent study.
We used a telecommunication system that employed automated telephone contact or web-based questions to obtain longitudinal follow-up data in our subjects. A branching questionnaire asked about exacerbations, new therapies, smoking status, development of co-morbid conditions, and general health status. Study coordinators contacted subjects who did not respond to one of the automated methods. We enrolled 10,383 subjects in the COPDGene study. As of August 29, 2011, 7,959 subjects completed 19,955 surveys. On the first survey, 68.8% of subjects who completed their survey did so by electronic means, while 31.3% required coordinator phone follow-up. On each subsequent survey the number of subjects who completed their survey by electronic means increased, while the number of subjects who required coordinator follow-up decreased. Despite many of the patients in the cohort being chronically ill and elderly, there was broad acceptance of the system with over half the cohort using electronic response methods.
The COPDGene LFU Study demonstrated that telecommunications was an effective way to obtain longitudinal follow-up of subjects in a large multicenter study. Web-based and automated phone contacts are accepted by research subjects and could serve as a model for LFU in future studies.
PMCID: PMC3698488  PMID: 22676387
COPD; COPDGene; Emphysema; Longitudinal data collection; Exacerbations; Follow-up studies; Elderly
Respiratory medicine  2011;106(1):109-119.
In COPD patients, hyperinflation impairs cardiac function. We examined whether lung deflation improves oxygen pulse, a surrogate marker of stroke volume.
In 129 NETT patients with cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) and arterial blood gases (ABG substudy), hyperinflation was assessed with residual volume to total lung capacity ratio (RV/TLC), and cardiac function with oxygen pulse (O2 pulse=VO2/HR) at baseline and 6 months. Medical and surgical patients were divided into “deflators” and “non-deflators” based on change in RV/TLC from baseline (ΔRV/TLC). We defined deflation as the ΔRV/TLC experienced by 75% of surgical patients. We examined changes in O2 pulse at peak and similar (iso-work) exercise. Findings were validated in 718 patients who underwent CPET without ABGs.
In the ABG substudy, surgical and medical deflators improved their RV/TLC and peak O2 pulse (median ΔRV/TLC −18.0% vs. −9.3%, p=0.0003; median ΔO2 pulse 13.6% vs. 1.8%, p=0.12). Surgical deflators also improved iso-work O2 pulse (0.53 mL/beat, p=0.04 at 20 watts). In the validation cohort, surgical deflators experienced a greater improvement in peak O2 pulse than medical deflators (mean 18.9% vs. 1.1%). In surgical deflators improvements in O2 pulse at rest and during unloaded pedaling (0.32 mL/beat, p<0.0001 and 0.47 mL/beat, p<0.0001, respectively) corresponded with significant reductions in HR and improvements in VO2. On multivariate analysis, deflators were 88% more likely than non-deflators to have an improvement in O2 pulse (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.30–2.72, p=0.0008).
In COPD, decreased hyperinflation through lung volume reduction is associated with improved O2 pulse.
PMCID: PMC3233645  PMID: 21843930
cardiac function; hyperinflation; lung volume reduction surgery; oxygen pulse
17.  The National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT) 
Substantial information regarding the role of lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) in severe emphysema emanates from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT). The NETT was not a crossover trial and therefore was able to examine the effects of optimal medical management and LVRS on short- and long-term survival, as well as lung function, exercise performance, and quality of life. The NETT generated multiple insights into the preoperative, perioperative, and postoperative management of patients undergoing thoracotomy; described pain control techniques that were safe and effective; and emphasized the need to address nonpulmonary issues to optimize surgical outcomes. After the NETT, newer investigation has focused on bronchoscopic endobronchial interventions and other techniques less invasive than LVRS to achieve lung reduction. In this review, we summarize what we currently know about the role of LVRS in the treatment of severe emphysema as a result of insights gained from the NETT and provide a brief review of the newer techniques of lung volume reduction.
PMCID: PMC3208657  PMID: 21719757
emphysema; COPD; lung volume reduction surgery
18.  Lung Volume Reduction as an Alternative to Transplantation for COPD 
Clinics in chest medicine  2011;32(2):379-397.
Emphysema is disabling and progressive and hallmarked by decreased exercise tolerance and impaired quality of life. Hyperinflation is the sentinel physiological characteristic of emphysema that is responsible for exercise intolerance, dyspnea, impaired quality of life and high mortality. Medical treatment does not alter the progression of emphysema and has little effect on palliating dyspnea or improving functional performance or quality of life. Surgical interventions that reduce lung volume have been the focus of multiple interventions for decades; however, until recently, limited evidence has documented their effectiveness. Lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) underwent rigorous study in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT), which demonstrated its short and long term effectiveness, associated morbidity and mortality and the essential factors that predict LVRS success or failure. Current investigation focuses on the use of less invasive techniques, predominantly bronchoscopic techniques that reduce lung volume without open thoracotomy. Herein, I summarize the major results of the NETT and briefly review newer bronchoscopic lung volume reduction techniques that show promise as alternative treatments for select COPD patients undergoing consideration for lung transplantation.
PMCID: PMC3086781  PMID: 21511097
19.  Association between inhaled nitric oxide treatment and long-term pulmonary function in survivors of acute respiratory distress syndrome 
Critical Care  2012;16(2):R36.
Assessment of treatments for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) has focused on short-term outcomes (for example, mortality); little information exists regarding long-term effects of ARDS treatment. Survivors of ARDS episodes may have long-term obstructive/restrictive pulmonary abnormalities and pulmonary gas exchange impairment. A 2004 prospective randomized placebo-controlled trial assessed the efficacy and safety of inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) in patients with non-septic ARDS; the primary endpoint was days alive and off assisted breathing. This analysis examined potential effects of iNO or placebo on pulmonary function six months post-treatment in ARDS survivors from that original study.
ARDS survivors (N = 92) from a large-scale randomized, placebo-controlled study evaluating mortality after either 5 ppm iNO or placebo for up to 28 days were assessed six months post-treatment. Pulmonary function testing across seven parameters was conducted.
At 6 months post-treatment, results indicated significantly better absolute values for iNO versus placebo for mean ± SD total lung capacity (TLC, 5.54 ± 1.42 vs. 4.81 ± 1.00; P = 0.026). There were also significantly better values for mean ± SD percent predicted values for a) forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1, 80.23 ± 21.21 vs. 69.51 ± 28.97; P = 0.042), b) forced vital capacity (FVC, 83.78 ± 19.37 vs. 69.84 ± 27.40; P = 0.019), c) FEV1/FVC (96.14 ± 13.79 vs. 87.92 ± 19.77; P = 0.033), and d) TLC (93.33 ± 18.21 vs. 76.10 ± 21.84; P < 0.001). Nonsignificant differences were found in absolute FEV1, FEV1/FVC, FVC, forced expiratory flow from 25% to 75% of FVC, functional residual capacity, and CO diffusion.
ARDS patients surviving after treatment with low-dose iNO had significantly better values for select pulmonary function tests at six months post-treatment than placebo-treated patients. Further trials are warranted to determine the effects of iNO on chronic lung function in ARDS survivors, a factor in long-term morbidity and quality of life in this population.
Trial Registration
A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled, Dose-response Study of Inhaled Nitric Oxide in the Treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. NCT number: ISRCTN53268296
PMCID: PMC3681348  PMID: 22386043
20.  Azithromycin for Prevention of Exacerbations of COPD 
The New England journal of medicine  2011;365(8):689-698.
Acute exacerbations adversely affect patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Macrolide antibiotics benefit patients with a variety of inflammatory airway diseases.
We performed a randomized trial to determine whether azithromycin decreased the frequency of exacerbations in participants with COPD who had an increased risk of exacerbations but no hearing impairment, resting tachycardia, or apparent risk of prolongation of the corrected QT interval.
A total of 1577 subjects were screened; 1142 (72%) were randomly assigned to receive azithromycin, at a dose of 250 mg daily (570 participants), or placebo (572 participants) for 1 year in addition to their usual care. The rate of 1-year follow-up was 89% in the azithromycin group and 90% in the placebo group. The median time to the first exacerbation was 266 days (95% confidence interval [CI], 227 to 313) among participants receiving azithromycin, as compared with 174 days (95% CI, 143 to 215) among participants receiving placebo (P<0.001). The frequency of exacerbations was 1.48 exacerbations per patient-year in the azithromycin group, as compared with 1.83 per patient-year in the placebo group (P=0.01), and the hazard ratio for having an acute exacerbation of COPD per patient-year in the azithromycin group was 0.73 (95% CI, 0.63 to 0.84; P<0.001). The scores on the St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (on a scale of 0 to 100, with lower scores indicating better functioning) improved more in the azithromycin group than in the placebo group (a mean [±SD] decrease of 2.8±12.8 vs. 0.6±11.4, P=0.004); the percentage of participants with more than the minimal clinically important difference of −4 units was 43% in the azithromycin group, as compared with 36% in the placebo group (P=0.03). Hearing decrements were more common in the azithromycin group than in the placebo group (25% vs. 20%, P=0.04).
Among selected subjects with COPD, azithromycin taken daily for 1 year, when added to usual treatment, decreased the frequency of exacerbations and improved quality of life but caused hearing decrements in a small percentage of subjects. Although this intervention could change microbial resistance patterns, the effect of this change is not known. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; number, NCT00325897.)
PMCID: PMC3220999  PMID: 21864166
21.  Total lung capacity by plethysmography and high-resolution computed tomography in COPD 
To characterize and compare total lung capacity (TLC) measured by plethysmography with high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT), and to identify variables that predict the difference between the two modalities.
Fifty-nine consecutive patients referred for the evaluation of COPD were retrospectively reviewed. Patients underwent full pulmonary function testing and HRCT within 3 months. TLC was obtained by plethysmography as per American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society standards and by HRCT using custom software on 0.75 and 5 mm thick contiguous slices performed at full inspiration (TLC).
TLC measured by plethysmography correlated with TLC measured by inspiratory HRCT (r = 0.92, P < 0.01). TLC measured by plethysmography was larger than that determined by inspiratory HRCT in most patients (mean of 6.46 ± 1.28 L and 5.34 ± 1.20 L respectively, P < 0.05). TLC measured by both plethysmography and HRCT correlated significantly with indices of airflow obstruction (forced expiratory volume in 1 second/forced vital capacity [FVC] and FVC%), static lung volumes (residual volume, percent predicted [RV%], total lung capacity, percent predicted [TLC%], functional residual capacity, percent predicted [FRC%], and inspiratory capacity, percent predicted), and percent emphysema. TLC by plethysmography and HRCT both demonstrated significant inverse correlations with diffusion impairment. The absolute difference between TLC measured by plethysmography and HRCT increased as RV%, TLC%, and FRC% increased. Gas trapping (RV% and FRC%) independently predicted the difference in TLC between plethysmography and HRCT.
In COPD, TLC by plethysmography can be up to 2 L greater than inspiratory HRCT. Gas trapping independently predicts patients for whom TLC by plethysmography differs significantly from HRCT.
PMCID: PMC3292389  PMID: 22399851
lung capacity; plethysmography; high-resolution computed tomography; gas trapping; lung volume measurement errors
22.  Survival in Patients Receiving Prolonged Ventilation: Factors that Influence Outcome 
Prolonged mechanical ventilation is increasingly common. It is expensive and associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Our objective is to comprehensively characterize patients admitted to a Ventilator Rehabilitation Unit (VRU) for weaning and identify characteristics associated with survival.
182 consecutive patients over 3.5 years admitted to Temple University Hospital (TUH) VRU were characterized. Data were derived from comprehensive chart review and a prospectively collected computerized database. Survival was determined by hospital records and social security death index and mailed questionnaires.
Upon admission to the VRU, patients were hypoalbuminemic (albumin 2.3 ± 0.6 g/dL), anemic (hemoglobin 9.6 ± 1.4 g/dL), with moderate severity of illness (APACHE II score 10.7 + 4.1), and multiple comorbidities (Charlson index 4.3 + 2.3). In-hospital mortality (19%) was related to a higher Charlson Index score (P = 0.006; OR 1.08–1.6), and APACHE II score (P = 0.016; OR 1.03–1.29). In-hospital mortality was inversely related to admission albumin levels (P = 0.023; OR 0.17–0.9). The presence of COPD as a comorbid illness or primary determinant of respiratory failure and higher VRU admission APACHE II score predicted higher long-term mortality. Conversely, higher VRU admission hemoglobin was associated with better long term survival (OR 0.57–0.90; P = 0.0006).
Patients receiving prolonged ventilation are hypoalbuminemic, anemic, have moderate severity of illness, and multiple comorbidities. Survival relates to these factors and the underlying illness precipitating respiratory failure, especially COPD.
PMCID: PMC3091409  PMID: 21573034
mechanical ventilation; mortality; weaning; ventilator rehabilitation; anemia; COPD
23.  Pulmonary Hypertension and Computed Tomography Measurement of Small Pulmonary Vessels in Severe Emphysema 
Rationale: Vascular alteration of small pulmonary vessels is one of the characteristic features of pulmonary hypertension in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The in vivo relationship between pulmonary hypertension and morphological alteration of the small pulmonary vessels has not been assessed in patients with severe emphysema.
Objectives: We evaluated the correlation of total cross-sectional area of small pulmonary vessels (CSA) assessed on computed tomography (CT) scans with the degree of pulmonary hypertension estimated by right heart catheterization.
Methods: In 79 patients with severe emphysema enrolled in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial (NETT), we measured CSA less than 5 mm2 (CSA<5) and 5 to 10 mm2 (CSA5−10), and calculated the percentage of total CSA for the lung area (%CSA<5 and %CSA5–10, respectively). The correlations of %CSA<5 and %CSA5–10 with pulmonary arterial mean pressure (\documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document}) obtained by right heart catheterization were evaluated. Multiple linear regression analysis using \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} as the dependent outcome was also performed.
Measurements and Main Results: The %CSA<5 had a significant negative correlation with \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} (r = −0.512, P < 0.0001), whereas the correlation between %CSA5–10 and \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} did not reach statistical significance (r = −0.196, P = 0.083). Multiple linear regression analysis showed that %CSA<5 and diffusing capacity of carbon monoxide (DlCO) % predicted were independent predictors of \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} (r2 = 0.541): %CSA <5 (P < 0.0001), and DlCO % predicted (P = 0.022).
Conclusions: The %CSA<5 measured on CT images is significantly correlated to \documentclass[10pt]{article} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{pmc} \usepackage[Euler]{upgreek} \pagestyle{empty} \oddsidemargin -1.0in \begin{document} \begin{equation*}\overline{Ppa}\end{equation*}\end{document} in severe emphysema and can estimate the degree of pulmonary hypertension.
PMCID: PMC2817812  PMID: 19875683
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; emphysema; pulmonary hypertension; CT
24.  Superior Immune Response to Protein-Conjugate versus Free Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Vaccine in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease 
Rationale: Debate exists about the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of antibodies produced by the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The 7-valent diphtheria-conjugated pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PCV7) induces a more robust immune response than PPSV23 in healthy elderly adults.
Objectives: We hypothesized that serotype-specific IgG antibody concentration and functional antibody activity would be superior after PCV7 vaccination compared with PPSV23 in moderate to severe COPD. We also posited that older age and prior PPSV23 vaccination would be associated with reduced vaccine responsiveness.
Methods: One hundred twenty patients with COPD were randomized to PPSV23 (63 subjects) or PCV7 (57 subjects). IgG concentrations were determined by ELISA; functional antibody activity was assayed with a standardized opsonophagocytosis assay and reported as an opsonization killing index (OPK). Increases in serotype-specific IgG and OPK at 1 month post vaccination were compared within and between vaccine groups.
Measurements and Main Results: Both vaccines were well tolerated. Within each study group, postvaccination IgG and OPK were higher than baseline (P < 0.01) for all serotypes. Adjusted for baseline levels, postvaccination IgG was higher in the PCV7 group than the PPSV23 group for all seven serotypes, reaching statistical significance for five (P < 0.05). PCV7 resulted in a higher OPK for six of seven serotypes (statistically greater for four) compared with PPSV23. In multivariate analyses, younger age, vaccine naivety, and receipt of PCV7 were associated with increased OPK responses.
Conclusions: PCV7 induces a superior immune response at 1 month post vaccination compared with PPSV23 in COPD. Older age and prior PPSV23 reduce vaccine responsiveness.
Clinical trial registered with (NCT00457977).
PMCID: PMC2742743  PMID: 19556517
pneumococcal vaccines; vaccination, COPD; immune responses; immunization
25.  Integrating Health Status and Survival Data 
Rationale: In studies that address health-related quality of life (QoL) and survival, subjects who die are usually censored from QoL assessments. This practice tends to inflate the apparent benefits of interventions with a high risk of mortality. Assessing a composite QoL-death outcome is a potential solution to this problem.
Objectives: To determine the effect of lung volume reduction surgery (LVRS) on a composite endpoint consisting of the occurrence of death or a clinically meaningful decline in QoL defined as an increase of at least eight points in the St. George's Respiratory Questionnaire total score from the National Emphysema Treatment Trial.
Methods: In patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and emphysema randomized to receive medical treatment (n = 610) or LVRS (n = 608), we analyzed the survival to the composite endpoint, the hazard functions and constructed prediction models of the slope of QoL decline.
Measurements and Main Results: The time to the composite endpoint was longer in the LVRS group (2 years) than the medical treatment group (1 year) (P < 0.0001). It was even longer in the subsets of patients undergoing LVRS without a high risk for perioperative death and with upper-lobe-predominant emphysema. The hazard for the composite event significantly favored the LVRS group, although it was most significant in patients with predominantly upper-lobe emphysema. The beneficial impact of LVRS on QoL decline was most significant during the 2 years after LVRS.
Conclusions: LVRS has a significant effect on the composite QoL-survival endpoint tested, indicating its meaningful palliative role, particularly in patients with upper-lobe–predominant emphysema.
PMCID: PMC2724716  PMID: 19483114
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; outcome assessment; palliative care; quality of life; survival; emphysema

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