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The phenotype of concurrent chronic bronchitis and frequent exacerbations in patients with severe COPD attending Swedish secondary care units

Authors Sundh J, Johansson G, Larsson K, Lindén A, Löfdahl C, Sandström T, Janson C

Received 29 June 2015

Accepted for publication 18 August 2015

Published 28 October 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 2327—2334


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Josefin Sundh,1 Gunnar Johansson,2 Kjell Larsson,3 Anders Lindén,3 Claes-Göran Löfdahl,4 Thomas Sandström,5 Christer Janson6

1Department of Respiratory Medicine, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden; 2Department of Public Health and Caring Science, Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; 3Unit for Lung and Airway Research, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 4Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden; 5Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Division of Medicine/Respiratory Medicine, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; 6Department of Medical Sciences, Respiratory, Allergy and Sleep Research, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

Background: Chronic bronchitis and previous exacerbations are both well-known risk factors for new exacerbations, impaired health-related quality of life, and increased mortality in COPD. The aim of the study was to characterize the phenotype of concurrent chronic bronchitis and frequent exacerbation in severe COPD.
Methods: Information on patient characteristics, comorbidity, and exacerbations from the previous year (total number and number requiring hospitalization) was collected from 373 patients with stage III and IV COPD attending 27 secondary care respiratory units in Sweden. Logistic regression used chronic bronchitis and frequent exacerbations (≥2 exacerbations or ≥1 hospitalized exacerbations in the previous year) as response variables. Stratification and interaction analyses examined effect modification by sex.
Results: Chronic bronchitis was associated with current smoking (adjusted odds ratio [OR] [95% CI], 2.75 [1.54–4.91]; P=0.001), frequent exacerbations (OR [95% CI], 1.93 [1.24–3.01]; P=0.004), and musculoskeletal symptoms (OR [95% CI], 1.74 [1.05–2.86]; P=0.031), while frequent exacerbations were associated with lung function (forced expiratory volume in 1 second as a percentage of predicted value [FEV1% pred]) (OR [95% CI] 0.96 [0.94–0.98]; P=0.001) and chronic bronchitis (OR [95% CI] 1.73 [1.11–2.68]; P=0.015). The phenotype with both chronic bronchitis and frequent exacerbations was associated with FEV1% pred (OR [95% CI] 0.95 [0.92–0.98]; P=0.002) and musculoskeletal symptoms (OR [95% CI] 2.55 [1.31–4.99]; P=0.006). The association of smoking with the phenotype of chronic bronchitis and exacerbations was stronger in women than in men (interaction, P=0.040).
Conclusion: Musculoskeletal symptoms and low lung function are associated with the phenotype of combined chronic bronchitis and frequent exacerbations in severe COPD. In women, current smoking is of specific importance for this phenotype. This should be considered in clinical COPD care.

Keywords: lung function, smoking, chronic obstructive lung disease, musculoskeletal symptoms

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