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      Seasonality, risk factors and burden of community-acquired pneumonia in COPD patients: a population database study using linked health care records

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          Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is more common in patients with COPD than in the adult general population, with studies of hospitalized CAP patients consistently reporting COPD as a frequent comorbidity. However, despite an increasing recognition of its importance, large studies evaluating the incidence patterns over time, risk factors and burden of CAP in COPD are currently lacking.


          A retrospective observational study using a large UK-based database of linked primary and secondary care records was conducted. Patients with a diagnosis of COPD aged ≥40 years were followed up for 5 years from January 1, 2010. CAP and exacerbation episodes were identified from hospital discharge data and primary care coding records, and rates were calculated per month, adjusting for mortality, and displayed over time. In addition, baseline factors predicting future risk of CAP and hospital admission with CAP were identified.


          A total of 14,513 COPD patients were identified: 13.4% (n=1,938) had ≥1 CAP episode, of whom 18.8% suffered from recurrent (≥2) CAP. Highest rates of both CAP and exacerbations were seen in winter. A greater proportion of frequent, compared to infrequent, exacerbators experienced recurrent CAP (5.1% versus 2.0%, respectively, P<0.001); 75.6% of CAP episodes were associated with hospital admission compared to 22.1% of exacerbations. Older age and increasing grade of airflow limitation were independently associated with increased odds of CAP and hospital admission with CAP. Other independent predictors of future CAP included lower body mass index, inhaled corticosteroid use, prior frequent exacerbations and comorbidities, including ischemic heart disease and diabetes.


          CAP in COPD demonstrates clear seasonal patterns, with patient characteristics predictive of the odds of future CAP and hospital admission with CAP. Highlighting this burden of COPD-associated CAP during the winter period informs us of the likely triggers and the need for more effective preventive strategies.

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          Most cited references 33

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          BTS guidelines for the management of community acquired pneumonia in adults: update 2009.

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            Clinical and economic burden of community-acquired pneumonia among adults in Europe.

            It is difficult to determine the impact of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in Europe, because precise data are scarce. Mortality attributable to CAP varies widely between European countries and with the site of patient management. This review analysed the clinical and economic burden, aetiology and resistance patterns of CAP in European adults. All primary articles reporting studies in Europe published from January 1990 to December 2007 addressing the clinical and economic burden of CAP in adults were included. A total of 2606 records were used to identify primary studies. CAP incidence varied by country, age and gender, and was higher in individuals aged ≥65 years and in men. Streptococcus pneumoniae was the most common agent isolated. Mortality varied from <1% to 48% and was associated with advanced age, co-morbid conditions and CAP severity. Antibiotic resistance was seen in all pathogens associated with CAP. There was an increase in antibiotic-resistant strains, but resistance was not related to mortality. CAP was associated with high rates of hospitalisation and length of hospital stay. The review showed that the clinical and economic burden of CAP in Europe is high. CAP has considerable long-term effects on quality of life, and long-term prognosis is worse in patients with pneumococcal pneumonia.
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              Pneumonia risk in COPD patients receiving inhaled corticosteroids alone or in combination: TORCH study results.

              Inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) are important in reducing exacerbation frequency associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, little is known about the risk of associated infections. In a post hoc analysis of the TOwards a Revolution in COPD Health (TORCH) study, we analysed and identified potential risk factors for adverse event reports of pneumonia in this randomised, double-blind trial comparing twice-daily inhaled salmeterol (SAL) 50 microg, fluticasone propionate (FP) 500 microg, and the combination (SFC) with placebo in 6,184 patients with moderate-to-severe COPD over 3 yrs. Despite a higher withdrawal rate in the placebo arm, after adjusting for time on treatment, a greater rate of pneumonia was reported in the FP and SFC treatment arms (84 and 88 per 1,000 treatment-yrs, respectively) compared with SAL and placebo (52 and 52 per 1,000 treatment-yrs, respectively). Risk factors for pneumonia were age > or =55 yrs, forced expiratory volume in 1 s <50% predicted, COPD exacerbations in the year prior to the study, worse Medical Research Council dyspnoea scores and body mass index <25 kg.m(-2). No increase in pneumonia deaths with SFC was observed; this could not be concluded for FP. Despite the benefits of ICS-containing regimens in COPD management, healthcare providers should remain vigilant regarding the possible development of pneumonia as a complication in COPD patients receiving such therapies.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of COPD
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                17 January 2017
                : 12
                : 313-322
                [1 ]Southampton NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Southampton General Hospital
                [2 ]Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital
                [3 ]Primary Care and Population Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Southampton General Hospital
                [4 ]NIHR CLAHRC Wessex, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton, UK
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Nicholas P Williams, Clinical and Experimental Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Sir Henry Wellcome Laboratories, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Mailpoint 810, Tremona Road, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK, Tel +44 23 8120 4479, Email npwilliams@
                © 2017 Williams et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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