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Predictors of Referral to Pulmonary Rehabilitation from UK Primary Care

Authors Stone PW, Hickman K, Steiner MC, Roberts CM, Quint JK, Singh SJ

Received 22 July 2020

Accepted for publication 28 September 2020

Published 16 November 2020 Volume 2020:15 Pages 2941—2952


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Philip W Stone,1 Katherine Hickman,2 Michael C Steiner,3 C Michael Roberts,4,5 Jennifer K Quint,1,* Sally J Singh3,*

1National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK; 2West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, Bradford, Yorkshire, UK; 3NIHR Leicester Respiratory Biomedical Research Centre, Department of Respiratory Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK; 4Royal College of Physicians, London, UK; 5QMUL, London, UK

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Philip W Stone Email

Background: A large proportion of people with COPD are not referred to pulmonary rehabilitation (PR) despite its proven benefits. No previous studies have examined predictors of referral to PR.
Objective: To determine the characteristics of people with COPD associated with referral to PR.
Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of a primary care cohort of 82,696 Welsh people with COPD generated as part of a UK national audit of COPD care. Data represent care received by patients as of 31/03/2017. Referral to PR was defined as any code in the patient record indicating referral to PR in the last 3 years. Potential predictors of referral to PR were chosen based on clinical judgement and data availability. Independent predictors of PR referral were determined using backward stepwise mixed-effects logistic regression with a random effect for practice. Variables assessed were: age, gender, deprivation, MRC recorded in past year, MRC grade, smoking status recorded in past year, smoking status, number of exacerbations in past year, inhaled therapy prescription, influenza vaccination, and comorbidities of diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, lung cancer, asthma, bronchiectasis, depression, anxiety, severe mental illness, osteoporosis, and painful condition.
Results: A total of 13,297 people (16%) with COPD were referred from primary care for PR. Patients with a comorbidity of bronchiectasis or depression, MRC recorded in the last year, higher MRC grade, more exacerbations in the last year, a greater level of inhaled therapy, an influenza vaccination, or were an ex-smoker had significantly higher odds of referral to PR. Patients that were older, female, more deprived, or had a comorbidity of diabetes, asthma, or painful condition had significantly lower odds of referral to PR.
Conclusion: Generally appropriate patients are being prioritised for PR referral; however, it is concerning that women, current smokers, and more deprived patients appear to have lower odds of referral.

Keywords: COPD, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, GP, general practitioner, observational study

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