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Spirometry for patients in hospital and one month after admission with an acute exacerbation of COPD

Authors Rea, Kenealy T, Adair, Robinson, Sheridan N

Published 14 October 2011 Volume 2011:6 Pages 527—532


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Harry Rea1, Timothy Kenealy1, Jacqui Adair1, Elizabeth Robinson2, Nicolette Sheridan3
1Section of Integrated Care, South Auckland Clinical School, University of Auckland, 2Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Population Health, University of Auckland, 3Section of Integrated Care, South Auckland Clinical School and School of Nursing, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Aim: To assess whether spirometry done in hospital during an admission for an acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (AECOPD) is clinically useful for long-term management.
Methods: Patients admitted to hospital with a clinical diagnosis of AECOPD had spirometry post-bronchodilator at discharge and approximately 4 weeks later.
Results: Spirometry was achieved in less than half of those considered to have AECOPD. Of 49 patients who had spirometry on both occasions, 41 met the GOLD criteria for COPD at discharge and 39 of these met the criteria at 1 month. For the 41, spirometry was not statistically different between discharge and 1 month but often crossed arbitrary boundaries for classification of severity based on FEV1. The eight who did not meet GOLD criteria at discharge were either misclassified due to comorbidities that reduce FVC, or they did not have COPD as a cause of their hospital admission.
Conclusion: Spirometry done in hospital at the time of AECOP is useful in patients with a high pre-test probability of moderate-to-severe COPD. Small changes in spirometry at 1 month could place them up or down one grade of severity. Spirometry at discharge may be useful to detect those who warrant further investigation.

Keywords: classification of COPD, spirometry, acute exacerbation of COPD, primary care, cohort study

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