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Wheezing, a significant clinical phenotype of COPD: experience from the Taiwan Obstructive Lung Disease Study

Authors Huang WC, Tsai YH, Wei YF, Kuo PH, Tao CW, Cheng SL, Lee CH, Wu YK, Chen NH, Hsu WH, Hsu JY, Wang CC, Lin MS

Received 10 July 2015

Accepted for publication 18 August 2015

Published 7 October 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 2121—2126

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S92062

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Professor Hsiao-Chi Chuang

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Wan-Chun Huang,1 Ying-Huang Tsai,2 Yu-Feng Wei,3 Ping-Hung Kuo,4 Chi-Wei Tao,5 Shih-Lung Cheng,6 Chao-Hsien Lee,7 Yao-Kuang Wu,8 Ning-Hung Chen,9 Wu-Huei Hsu,10 Jeng-Yuan Hsu,11 Chin-Chou Wang,12 Ming-Shian Lin1,13

1Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Ditmanson Medical Foundation Chia-Yi Christian Hospital, Chiayi, 2Department of Internal Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chiayi, 3Department of Internal Medicine, E-Da Hospital/I-Shou University, Kaohsiung, 4Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, 5Department of Internal Medicine, Cheng-Hsin General Hospital, 6Division of Thoracic Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, 7Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Mackay Memorial Hospital, 8Division of Pulmonary Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Taipei Tzu Chi Hospital, Taipei, 9Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Linkou, 10Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, 11Division of Chest Medicine, Taichung Veterans Genera Hospital, Taichung, 12Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, 13Department of Respiratory Care, Chang Gung University of Science and Technology, Chiayi, Taiwan, Republic of China

Background: COPD is an important public health challenge with significant heterogeneity of clinical presentation and disease progression. Clinicians have been trying to find phenotypes that may be linked to distinct prognoses and different therapeutic choices. Not all patients with COPD present with wheezing, a possible clinical phenotype that can help differentiate patient subgroups.
Methods: The Taiwan Obstructive Lung Disease study was a retrospective, multicenter research study to investigate the treatment patterns of COPD after the implementation of the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease 2011 guidelines. Between November 2012 and August 2013, medical records were retrieved from patients with COPD aged ≥40 years; patients diagnosed with asthma were excluded. Demographic data, lung function, symptom scores, and acute exacerbation were recorded and analyzed, and the differences between patients with and without wheezing were evaluated.
Results: Of the 1,096 patients with COPD, 424 (38.7%) had the wheezing phenotype. The wheezing group had significantly higher COPD Assessment Test scores (12.4±7.8 versus 10.5±6.7, P<0.001), higher modified Medical Research Council grade (2.0±1.0 versus 1.7±0.9, P<0.001), and more acute exacerbations within the past year (0.9±1.3 versus 0.4±0.9, P<0.001) than the nonwheezing group. The postbronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second was lower in wheezing patients (1.2±0.5 L versus 1.5±0.6 L, P<0.001). Even in patients with maintenance treatment fitting the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease 2011 guidelines, the wheezing group still had worse symptom scores and more exacerbations.
Conclusion: Wheezing is an important phenotype in patients with COPD. Patients with COPD having the wheezing phenotype are associated with worse symptoms, more exacerbations, and worse lung function.

Keywords: chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute exacerbation, wheezing phenotype

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