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Longitudinal change of COPD assessment test (CAT) in a telehealthcare cohort is associated with exacerbation risk

Authors Rassouli F, Baty F, Stolz D, Albrich WC, Tamm M, Widmer S, Brutsche MH

Received 12 May 2017

Accepted for publication 1 August 2017

Published 24 October 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 3103—3109


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Charles Downs

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Frank Rassouli,1 Florent Baty,1 Daiana Stolz,2 Werner Christian Albrich,3 Michael Tamm,2 Sandra Widmer,1 Martin Hugo Brutsche1

1Department of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Cantonal Hospital St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland; 2Department of Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland; 3Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, Cantonal Hospital St Gallen, St Gallen, Switzerland

Background: There are only scarce data regarding the evolution of the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) assessment test (CAT) over time. Our aim was to investigate the evolution of the CAT in a telehealthcare (THC) cohort and to evaluate its potential to predict exacerbations.
Patients and methods: The CAT was measured weekly over up to 1 year in 40 COPD patients undergoing a THC intervention. The evolution of the CAT was analyzed using linear regression. The association between this evolution and the occurrence of exacerbations was evaluated using the Andersen–Gill formulation of the Cox proportional hazards model for the analysis of recurrent time-to-event data with time-varying predictors.
Results: The median CAT at inclusion was 17 (interquartile range 13–22) points. During the study, 25% of patients had a significant negative slope (median –7 points per year [ppy]), 38% were stable (median +0 ppy) and 38% had a significant positive slope (median +6 ppy). The median slope of the CAT in the overall cohort was +1 (interquartile range –3 to +6) ppy. A significant positive association was found between the change in CAT scores and the risk of exacerbations (hazard ratio =1.08, 95% CI: 1.03–1.13; p<0.001). There was an 8% increase of the risk of exacerbation per unit increase in CAT. We detected a significant learning effect in filling out the CAT in 18.4% of patients with a median learning phase of five filled questionnaires.
Conclusion: Sixty-three percent of the COPD patients monitored by THC experienced a stable or improved CAT during 1-year follow-up. We found a significant positive association between the evolution of the CAT over time and the risk of exacerbations. In about one-fifth of patients, there was a significant learning effect in filling out the CAT, before reliable results could be obtained. The evolution of the CAT could help to assess the risk for future exacerbations.

Keywords: telemonitoring, telemedicine, COPD management, acute exacerbations of COPD, COPD assessment test

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