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Mixed Phenotype of Emphysema and Airway Wall Thickening Is Associated with Frequent Exacerbation in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Patients

Authors Lim JU, Kim EK, Lim SY, Lee JH, Lee JS, Lee SD, Oh YM, Rhee CK

Received 15 August 2019

Accepted for publication 17 December 2019

Published 30 December 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 3035—3042

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S227377

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell


Jeong Uk Lim,1 Eun Kyung Kim,2 Seong Yong Lim,3 Jin Hwa Lee,4 Jae Seung Lee,5 Sang-Do Lee,5 Yeon-Mok Oh,5 Chin Kook Rhee1 On behalf of the KOLD Study Group

1Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea; 2Department of Internal Medicine, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea; 3Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea; 4Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, South Korea; 5Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Clinical Research Center for Chronic Obstructive Airway Diseases, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea

Correspondence: Chin Kook Rhee
Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Seoul St. Mary’s Hospital, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, 222, Banpo-daero Seocho-gu, Seoul 06591, Republic of Korea
Tel +82-2-2258-6067
Fax +82-2-599-3589
Email chinkook77@gmail.com

Objective: The presence of both emphysema and airway wall thickening determined via volumetric computed tomography (CT) is defined as mixed phenotype. The long-term clinical course of this phenotype has not been studied in depth. This study compared the mixed phenotype to other phenotypes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients.
Methods: COPD patients enrolled in the Korean Obstructive Lung Disease (KOLD) study from June 2005 to October 2015 were evaluated. The emphysema index and the percentage of bronchial mean wall area were calculated from volumetric CT scans. Patients with COPD were classified into four phenotypes using two cutoffs: emphysema index of 15% and median value of mean wall area (MWA%).
Results: Of 435 patients with COPD, 99 (22.8%) were defined as CT-normal type, 119 (27.4%) as emphysema-dominant type, 113 (26.0%) as airway-dominant type, and 104 (23.9%) as mixed type. The mixed phenotype showed the highest baseline total COPD Assessment Test (CAT) and St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) scores. Moreover, it had the highest proportion of patients experiencing exacerbation of COPD (50.0%), and had the lowest baseline FEV1. Lower BMI, GOLD stages III–IV, and mixed phenotype were significant factors associated with severe exacerbation frequency in univariate analyses. Multivariate analyses showed that lower BMI and CT phenotype were significant factors associated with severe exacerbation frequency. Compared to the CT-normal phenotype, the mixed phenotype was significantly associated with more frequent severe exacerbation (IRR 4.134, 95% CI: 1.135–15.057, P=0.031).
Conclusion: Patients with mixed phenotype are more symptomatic, have poorer pulmonary function, and are associated with more frequent severe exacerbation.

Keywords: COPD, emphysema, computed tomography, mixed phenotype


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