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Palliative care and prognosis in COPD: a systematic review with a validation cohort

Authors Almagro P, Yun S, Sangil A, Rodríguez-Carballeira M, Marine M, Landete P, Soler-Cataluña JJ, Soriano JB, Miravitlles M

Received 26 February 2017

Accepted for publication 13 April 2017

Published 9 June 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1721—1729


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Pere Almagro,1 Sergi Yun,1 Ana Sangil,1 Mónica Rodríguez-Carballeira,1 Meritxell Marine,1 Pedro Landete,2 Juan José Soler-Cataluña,3 Joan B Soriano,4 Marc Miravitlles5

1Multimorbidity Patients Unit, Internal Medicine Department, Hospital Universitario Mutua de Terrassa, Universidad de Barcelona, Terrassa, Barcelona, 2Department of Pneumology, Hospital Universitario de la Princesa, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, 3Department of Pneumology, Hospital Arnau de Vilanova-Lliria, Valencia, 4Instituto de Investigación Hospital Universitario de la Princesa (IISP), Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, 5Department of Pneumology, Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, CIBER de Enfermedades Respiratorias (CIBERES), Barcelona, Spain

Abstract: Current recommendations to consider initiation of palliative care (PC) in COPD patients are often based on an expected poor prognosis. However, this approach is not evidence-based, and which and when COPD patients should start PC is controversial. We aimed to assess whether current suggested recommendations for initiating PC were sufficiently reliable. We identified prognostic variables proposed in the literature for initiating PC; then, we ascertained their relationship with 1-year mortality, and finally, we validated their utility in our cohort of 697 patients hospitalized for COPD exacerbation. From 24 articles of 499 screened, we selected 20 variables and retrieved 48 original articles in which we were able to calculate the relationship between each of them and 1-year mortality. The number of studies where 1-year mortality was detailed for these variables ranged from 9 for previous hospitalizations or FEV1 ≤30% to none for albumin ≤25 mg/dL. The percentage of 1-year mortality in the literature for these variables ranged from 5% to 60%. In the validation cohort study, the prevalence of these proposed variables ranged from 8% to 64%; only 10 of the 18 variables analyzed in our cohort reached statistical significance with Cox regression analysis, and none overcame an area under the curve ≥0.7. We conclude that none of the suggested criteria for initiating PC based on an expected poor vital prognosis in COPD patients in the short or medium term offers sufficient reliability, and consequently, they should be avoided as exclusive criteria for considering PC or at least critically appraised.

Keywords: COPD, palliative care, prognosis, mortality, survival, end of life

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