Back to Journals » International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease » Volume 12

Hospital admissions and mortality in patients with COPD exacerbations and vertebral body compression fractures

Authors Pascual-Guardia S, Badenes-Bonet D, Martin-Ontiyuelo C, Zuccarino F, Marín-Corral J, Rodríguez A, Barreiro E, Gea J

Received 2 December 2016

Accepted for publication 19 January 2017

Published 21 June 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1837—1845


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Professor Hsiao-Chi Chuang

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Sergi Pascual-Guardia,1–3 Diana Badenes-Bonet,1,2 Clara Martin-Ontiyuelo,1,2 Flavio Zuccarino,4 Judith Marín-Corral,5 Alejandro Rodríguez,3,6 Esther Barreiro,1–3 Joaquim Gea1–3

1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Hospital del Mar-IMIM, Barcelona, Spain; 2Department CEXS, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain; 3CIBERES, ISCiii. Madrid, Spain; 4Department of Imaging, Hospital del Mar, Barcelona, Spain; 5Intensive Care Unit, Hospital del Mar, Research Group in Critical Disorders (GREPAC), IMIM, Barcelona, Spain; 6Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Joan XXIII, Tarragona, Spain

Background: Vertebral compression fractures (VCF) are common in COPD patients, with osteoporosis being the main cause. The clinical impact of VCF derives mostly from both pain and chest deformity, which may lead to ventilatory and physical activity limitations. Surprisingly, the consequences of VCF on the quality outcomes of hospital care are poorly known.
Objective: To assess these indicators in patients hospitalized due to a COPD exacerbation (ECOPD) who also have VCF.
Methods: Clinical characteristics and quality care indicators were assessed in two one-year periods, one retrospective (exploratory) and one prospective (validation), in all consecutive patients hospitalized for ECOPD. Diagnosis of VCF was based on the reduction of >20% height of the vertebral body evaluated in standard lateral chest X-ray (three independent observers).
Results: From the 248 patients admitted during the exploratory phase, a third had at least one VCF. Underdiagnosis rate was 97.6%, and patients with VCF had more admissions (normalized for survival), longer hospital stays, and higher mortality than patients without (4 [25th–75th percentiles, 2–8] vs 3 [1–6] admissions, P<0.01; 12 [6–30] vs 9 [6–18] days, P<0.05; and 50 vs 32.1% deaths, P<0.01, respectively). The risk of dying in the two following years was also higher in VCF patients (odds ratio: 2.11 [1.2–3.6], P<0.01). The validation cohort consisted of 250 patients who showed very similar results. The logistic regression analysis indicated that both VCF and age were factors independently associated with mortality.
Conclusion: Although VCF is frequently underdiagnosed in patients hospitalized for ECOPD, it is strongly associated with a worse prognosis and quality care outcomes.

Keywords: vertebral fracture, COPD, prognosis, hospitalizations

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]