Patients with COPD are at risk for life-threatening pneumonia. Although anatomical abnormalities in the thorax may predispose to pneumonia, those abnormalities identified on routine chest X-rays (CXRs) in patients with COPD have not been studied to better understand pneumonia risk.
We conducted a post hoc exploratory analysis of data from two replicate year-long clinical trials assessing the impact of fluticasone furoate–vilanterol versus vilanterol alone on COPD exacerbations (GSK studies: HZC102871/NCT01009463 and HZC102970/NCT01017952). Abnormalities on baseline CXRs from 179 patients who developed pneumonia and 50 randomly selected patients who did not were identified by blinded consensus readings conducted by two radiologists. Positive and negative likelihood ratios and diagnostic odds ratios (ORs) were calculated to evaluate the markers for subsequent pneumonia development during the 1-year study period.
Baseline characteristics distinguishing the pneumonia and non-pneumonia groups included a lower body mass index (24.9 vs 27.5 kg/m 2, P=0.008), more severe airflow obstruction (mean post-bronchodilator forced expiratory volume in 1 second [FEV 1]/forced vital capacity ratio: 42.3% vs 47.6%, P=0.003), and prior pneumonia (36% vs 20%, P=0.030). Baseline CXR findings with the highest diagnostic ORs were: elevated hemi-diaphragm (OR: 6.87; 95% CI: 0.90, 52.26), thick tracheal-esophageal stripe (OR: 4.39 [0.25, 78.22]), narrow cardiac silhouette (OR: 2.91 [0.85, 9.99]), calcified pleural plaque/mid-chest pleural thickening (OR: 2.82 [0.15, 53.76]), and large/prominent pulmonary artery shadow (OR: 1.94 [0.95, 3.97]). The presence of a narrow cardiac silhouette at baseline was associated with a statistically significant lower mean pre-bronchodilator FEV 1 ( P=0.040). There was also a trend for a lower mean pre-bronchodilator FEV 1 in patients with a large/prominent pulmonary artery shadow at baseline ( P=0.095).