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Health care utilization history, GOLD guidelines, and respiratory medication prescriptions in patients with COPD

Authors Seaman J, Leonard AC, Panos R

Published 31 March 2010 Volume 2010:5 Pages 89—97


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 1

Joseph Seaman1,2, Anthony C Leonard3, Ralph J Panos1,2

1Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Division, Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, USA; 2Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Division, University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA; 3Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Cincinnati School of Medicine, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Background: The relationship between prior health care utilization and respiratory medication prescriptions in an unselected population of patients with COPD is not known.

Methods: We determined the prescribed respiratory medications and respiratory and nonrespiratory health care encounters in 523 Veterans with COPD at the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center between 2000 and 2005. Prescribed treatments were compared with the GOLD guidelines and each patient was classified as receiving less medications than recommended in the guidelines (<G), medications according to the guidelines (=G), or more medications than recommended (>G).

Results: Respiratory medications were <G for 54%, =G in 33%, and >G for 14% of the patients studied. For GOLD stages 1 and 2, <G patients had the fewest and >G patients the most prior respiratory encounters during a 12 month period (0.31 ± 0.073 (0.21, 0.47), 0.75 ± 0.5 (0.37, 1.5), 1.1 ± 0.27 (0.74, 1.6) visits/person/year, <G, =G, >G, respectively, mean + standard error of mean (SEM) (95% confidence limits) 2 degrees of freedom (df) ANOVA P < 0.001 for prescription effect). For GOLD stages 3 and 4, <G was associated with significantly fewer prior respiratory visits than was =G (0.78 ± 0.11 (0.6, 1.0) and 2.4 ± 0.47 (1.9, 3.1) visits/person/year, respectively, P < 0.001). There were no differences in nonrespiratory health care visits for GOLD stages 1 and 2 by prescription level (3.1 ± 0.24 (2.6, 3.5), 3.1 ± 0.46 (2.1, 4.6) and 4.1 ± 0.55 (3.3, 5.1) visits/person/year, <G, =G, >G respectively, 2 df ANOVA P = 0.096) or for GOLD stages 3 and 4 (3.6 ± 0.25 (3.2, 4.1) and 4.0 ± 0.44 (3.3, 4.9) visits/ person/year, <G and =G, respectively, P = 0.36).

Conclusions: Respiratory medications prescribed for an unselected population with a broad range of COPD severity complied poorly with the GOLD pharmacologic treatment guidelines but correlated with the number of prior respiratory health care visits.
Keywords: health care, COPD, respiratory visits, GOLD guidelines, prescription

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