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Minimal Clinically Important Differences for Patient-Reported Outcome Measures of Cough and Sputum in Patients with COPD

Authors Rebelo P, Oliveira A, Paixão C, Valente C, Andrade L, Marques A

Received 5 July 2019

Accepted for publication 31 October 2019

Published 29 January 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 201—212


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Patrícia Rebelo,1,2 Ana Oliveira,1,2 Cátia Paixão,1,2 Carla Valente,3 Lília Andrade,3 Alda Marques1,2

1Respiratory Research and Rehabilitation Laboratory (Lab3R), School of Health Sciences, University of Aveiro (ESSUA), Aveiro, Portugal; 2Institute of Biomedicine, School of Health Sciences (iBiMED), University of Aveiro (ESSUA), Aveiro, Portugal; 3Pulmonology Department, Centro Hospitalar Do Baixo Vouga (CHBV), Aveiro, Portugal

Correspondence: Alda Marques
Escola Superior de Saúde, Universidade de Aveiro - Edifício 30, Agras do Crasto - Campus Universitário de Santiago, Aveiro 3810-193, Portugal

Background: Cough and sputum are highly prevalent in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) has shown to be effective in managing these symptoms. However, the interpretation of the magnitude of PR effects is hindered by the lack of minimal clinically important differences (MCIDs).
Purpose: This study established MCIDs for the Leicester cough questionnaire (LCQ) and the cough and sputum assessment questionnaire (CASA-Q), in patients with COPD after PR.
Patients and Methods: An observational prospective study was conducted in patients with COPD who participated in a 12-weeks community-based PR program. Anchor- (mean change, receiver operating characteristic curves and linear regression analysis) and distribution-based methods [0.5*standard deviation; standard error of measurement (SEM); 1.96*SEM; minimal detectable change and effect size] were used to compute the MCIDs. The anchors used were: i) patients and physiotherapists global rating of change scale, ii) COPD assessment test, iii) St. George’s respiratory questionnaire and iv) occurrence of an exacerbation during PR. Pooled MCIDs were computed using the arithmetic weighted mean (2/3 for anchor- and 1/3 for distribution-based methods).
Results: Forty-nine patients with COPD (81.6% male, 69.8± 7.4years, FEV1 50.4± 19.4%predicted) were used in the analysis. The pooled MCIDs were 1.3 for LCQ and for CASA-Q domains were: 10.6 - cough symptoms; 10.1 - cough impact; 9.5 - sputum symptoms and 7.8 - sputum impact.
Conclusion: The MCIDs found in this study are potential estimates to interpret PR effects on cough and sputum, and may contribute to guide interventions.

Keywords: COPD, symptoms, pulmonary rehabilitation, patient health questionnaire, measurement characteristics, statistics

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