Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is an important public health issue in many countries which is estimated to become the fifth cause of disability and the third cause of mortality in the world within 2020.
The objective of this study was to identify the clinical characteristics in the real clinical practice of a sample of patients with COPD followed in a pulmonology clinic.
The initial sample contained 207 subjects with respiratory claims that searched for specialized treatment and initiated regular monitoring between 2004 and 2009 in a private clinic localized in Cascavel, in the state of Parana, Brazil. Demographic data (weight, height, body mass index - BMI), history of comorbidities, use of respiratory and non respiratory drugs were also registered.
The main cause related to the development of COPD was current or prior smoking (92.0%); the most frequently reported symptom was dyspnea (95.0%), followed by cough (86.1%), wheezing (69.4%) and sputum production (40.0%). During the follow up, 51 patients developed the need for oxygen therapy (28.3%). In 96 patients, there were periods of acute exacerbation, resulting in 37 hospitalizations. In addition to COPD, a significant number of comorbidities were identified, being cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders the most prevalent ones.
Based on the data collected, we could outline the profile of patients with COPD, showing characteristics of an elderly population, with multiple comorbidities, suggesting a health related quality of life lower than expected.