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Self-reported alcohol intake and risk of acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a prospective cohort study

Authors Wetherbee E, Niewoehner D, Sisson J, Lindberg S, Connett J, Kunisaki K

Received 14 April 2015

Accepted for publication 4 June 2015

Published 20 July 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 1363—1370


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Erin E Wetherbee,1,2 Dennis E Niewoehner,1,2 Joseph H Sisson,3 Sarah M Lindberg,4 John E Connett,4 Ken M Kunisaki1,2

1Pulmonary Section, Minneapolis Veterans Affairs Health Care System, 2Division of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA; 3Pulmonary, Critical Care, Sleep and Allergy Division, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE, USA; 4Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Objective: To evaluate the relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk of acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD).
Methods and measurements: We conducted a secondary analysis of data previously collected in a large, multicenter trial of daily azithromycin in COPD. To analyze the relationship between amount of baseline self-reported alcohol consumption in the past 12 months and subsequent AECOPD, we categorized the subjects as minimal (<1 drink/month), light-to-moderate (1–60 drinks/month), or heavy alcohol users (>60 drinks/month). The primary outcome was time to first AECOPD and the secondary outcome was AECOPD rate during the 1-year study period.
Results: Of the 1,142 enrolled participants, 1,082 completed baseline alcohol questionnaires and were included in this analysis. Six hundred and forty-five participants reported minimal alcohol intake, 363 reported light-to-moderate intake, and 74 reported heavy intake. There were no statistically significant differences in median time to first AECOPD among minimal (195 days), light-to-moderate (241 days), and heavy drinkers (288 days) (P=0.11). The mean crude rate of AECOPD did not significantly differ between minimal (1.62 events per year) and light-to-moderate (1.44 events per year) (P=0.095), or heavy drinkers (1.68 events per year) (P=0.796). There were no significant differences in hazard ratios for AECOPD after adjustment for multiple covariates.
Conclusion: Among persons with COPD at high risk of exacerbation, we found no significant relationship between self-reported baseline alcohol intake and subsequent exacerbations. The number of patients reporting heavy alcohol intake was small and further study is needed to determine the effect of heavy alcohol intake on AECOPD risk.

Keywords: pulmonary disease, chronic obstructive, ethanol, alcohol, alcoholism

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