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Greater eosinophil counts at first COPD hospitalization are associated with more readmissions and fewer deaths

Authors Li Q, Larivée P, Courteau J, Couillard S, Poder TG, Carrier N, Bélanger M, Vanasse A

Received 13 September 2018

Accepted for publication 16 December 2018

Published 30 January 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 331—341


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Qing Li,1 Pierre Larivée,2,3 Josiane Courteau,2 Simon Couillard,2,3 Thomas G Poder,2,4,5 Nathalie Carrier,2 Maryse Bélanger,2,3 Alain Vanasse2,5

1Center for Innovation Management Research of Xinjiang, School of Economics and Management, Xinjiang University, Urumqi, Xinjiang, China; 2Research Center, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Sherbrooke (CHUS), Sherbrooke, QC, Canada; 3Respirology Service, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada; 4Health Technology Assessment Unit, UETMISSS, CIUSSS de l’Estrie – CHUS, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada; 5Department of Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada

Purpose: The impacts of high blood eosinophil count (HBEC) at admission for COPD exacerbation on posthospitalization outcomes are still unclear. Previous studies have focused on its associations with first readmission rates; yet, its impacts on longitudinal outcomes such as subsequent readmissions still have to be explored. The main objective of this study is to investigate outcomes associated with HBEC following a first hospitalization for COPD exacerbation.
Patients and methods: This is an observational cohort study design. We retrospectively analyzed data of patients with a first hospitalization within 5 years for COPD exacerbation between April 2006 and March 2013. Patients were stratified into the HBEC group if the blood eosinophil count at admission was ≥200 cells/µL and/or ≥2% of the total white blood cells. With information on exact dates of subsequent hospitalizations and death, we modeled readmissions and death as states in a multi-state Markov model and estimated transition probabilities to the next states. Sensitivity analyses were performed by varying thresholds for the definition of HBEC (≥300 cells/µL and/or ≥3%).
Results: A total of 479 patients were included, of which 173 had HBEC. The transition probabilities for a first readmission was 74% (95% CI, 66%–83%) for patients with HBEC vs 70% (95% CI, 63%–77%) for patients with normal blood eosinophil count (NBEC). The transition probabilities for a second readmission were 91% (95% CI, 84%–100%) for HBEC patients in contrast with 83% (95% CI, 74%–92%) for NBEC patients. Meanwhile, transition probability for death was lower in patients with HBEC. The differences enlarged in sensitivity analyses with higher cutoff.
Conclusion: Greater blood eosinophil cell counts during a first hospitalization for COPD predict increased susceptibility to up to two readmissions. These patients may however have a lower risk of death.

Keywords: COPD, blood eosinophil cell count, exacerbations, readmissions, death, multi-state Markov model, transition probability, observational cohort study, clinical data, administrative data

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