12 July 2020
COPD patients suffer from respiratory symptoms and limitations in daily life. We aimed to characterize the impact of disease on overall health, daily life, and perceived well-being in COPD outpatients.
We conducted a national, cross-sectional study among pulmonologists and general practitioners (GPs). The St. George’s Respiratory Questionnaire for COPD patients (SGRQ-C) was used. Inclusion criteria were a physician’s diagnosis of COPD and age ≥40 years. Subjects with a history of lung surgery, lung cancer or COPD exacerbation within the last four weeks were excluded.
Sixty-seven pulmonologists and 6 GPs enrolled 1175 COPD patients. Two hundred forty-eight of those did not fulfill GOLD criteria for COPD (FEV 1/FVC <0.7) and 77 were excluded due to missing data. Finally, 850 patients (62.8% men; mean age 66.2 ± 0.3 (SE) years; mean FEV 1%pred. 51.5 ± 0.6 (SE)) were analyzed. Last year, 55.4% reported at least one exacerbation, and 12.7% were hospitalized for COPD exacerbation. Mean SGRQ-C total score was 43.1 ± 0.83 (SE) and mean component scores for symptoms, activity and impacts were 55.6, 55.4 and 30.5, respectively. Half of the patients (50.3%) reported not being able to do any sports and 78.7% stated that their respiratory symptoms did not allow them doing anything they would like to do. In patients with less severe COPD (FEV 1pred ≥50% and non-frequent exacerbations), global health status was overrated, ie, estimated as better by the physician than by the patient, while it was underrated in more severe COPD.
In Austria, the burden of disease in COPD outpatients tends to be underestimated in patients with milder airway obstruction and less exacerbations and overestimated in patients with more severe airway obstruction and frequent exacerbations. Our finding suggests that validated assessment of global health status might decrease these differences of perception.