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      Development of the ProPal-COPD tool to identify patients with COPD for proactive palliative care

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          Our objective was to develop a tool to identify patients with COPD for proactive palliative care. Since palliative care needs increase during the disease course of COPD, the prediction of mortality within 1 year, measured during hospitalizations for acute exacerbation COPD (AECOPD), was used as a proxy for the need of proactive palliative care.

          Patients and methods

          Patients were recruited from three general hospitals in the Netherlands in 2014. Data of 11 potential predictors, a priori selected based on literature, were collected during hospitalization for AECOPD. After 1 year, the medical files were explored for the date of death. An optimal prediction model was assessed by Lasso logistic regression, with 20-fold cross-validation for optimal shrinkage. Missing data were handled using complete case analysis.


          Of 174 patients, 155 patients were included; of those 30 (19.4%) died within 1 year. The optimal prediction model was internally validated and had good discriminating power (AUC =0.82, 95% CI 0.81–0.82). This model relied on the following seven predictors: the surprise question, Medical Research Council dyspnea questionnaire (MRC dyspnea), Clinical COPD Questionnaire (CCQ), FEV 1% of predicted value, body mass index, previous hospitalizations for AECOPD and specific comorbidities. To ensure minimal miss out of patients in need of proactive palliative care, we proposed a cutoff in the model that prioritized sensitivity over specificity (0.90 over 0.73, respectively). Our model (ProPal-COPD tool) was a stronger predictor of mortality within 1 year than the CODEX (comorbidity, age, obstruction, dyspnea, and previous severe exacerbations) index.


          The ProPal-COPD tool is a promising multivariable prediction tool to identify patients with COPD for proactive palliative care.

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          Most cited references 26

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          Predictors of mortality in hospitalized adults with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

          There is a need to identify clinically meaningful predictors of mortality following hospitalized COPD exacerbation. The aim of this study was to systematically review the literature to identify clinically important factors that predict mortality after hospitalization for acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Eligible studies considered adults admitted to hospital with COPD exacerbation. Two authors independently abstracted data. Odds ratios were then calculated by comparing the prevalence of each predictor in survivors versus nonsurvivors. For continuous variables, mean differences were pooled by the inverse of their variance, using a random effects model. There were 37 studies included (189,772 study subjects) with risk of death ranging from 3.6% for studies considering short-term mortality, 31.0% for long-term mortality (up to 2 yr after hospitalization), and 29.0% for studies that considered solely intensive care unit (ICU)-admitted study subjects. Twelve prognostic factors (age, male sex, low body mass index, cardiac failure, chronic renal failure, confusion, long-term oxygen therapy, lower limb edema, Global Initiative for Chronic Lung Disease criteria stage 4, cor pulmonale, acidemia, and elevated plasma troponin level) were significantly associated with increased short-term mortality. Nine prognostic factors (age, low body mass index, cardiac failure, diabetes mellitus, ischemic heart disease, malignancy, FEV1, long-term oxygen therapy, and PaO2 on admission) were significantly associated with long-term mortality. Three factors (age, low Glasgow Coma Scale score, and pH) were significantly associated with increased risk of mortality in ICU-admitted study subjects. Different factors correlate with mortality from COPD exacerbation in the short term, long term, and after ICU admission. These parameters may be useful to develop tools for prediction of outcome in clinical practice.
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            COPD exacerbations: definitions and classifications.

            Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is defined independently of exacerbations, which are largely a feature of moderate-to-severe disease. This article is the result of a workshop that tried to define exacerbations of COPD for use in clinical, pharmacological and epidemiological studies. The conclusions represent the consensus of those present. This review describes definitions, ascertainment, severity assessments, duration and frequency, using varying sources of data including direct patient interview, healthcare databases and symptom diaries kept by patients in studies. The best general definition of a COPD exacerbation is the following: an exacerbation of COPD is a sustained worsening of the patient's condition, from the stable state and beyond normal day-to-day variations that is acute in onset and may warrant additional treatment in a patient with underlying COPD. A more specific definition for studies where a bacteriological cause of exacerbation is being studied is included, as well as simpler definitions for retrospective identification from database sources. Prospective diary card assessments are best recorded as changes from an agreed baseline, rather than absolute symptom severities. Diary cards identify many unreported exacerbations, which on average have similar severities to reported exacerbations. A scale for exacerbation severity is proposed that incorporates in- and outpatient assessments. Exacerbation duration, which also relates to severity, is defined from diary card reports. Healthcare utilisation is not an adequate substitute for severity, depending on many unrelated social and comorbidity factors. It is an outcome in its own right.
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              Readmission rates and life threatening events in COPD survivors treated with non-invasive ventilation for acute hypercapnic respiratory failure.

              Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) has been shown to reduce intubation and in-hospital mortality in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and acute hypercapnic respiratory failure (AHRF). However, little information exists on the outcomes following discharge. A study was undertaken to examine the rates of readmission, recurrent AHRF, and death following discharge and the risk factors associated with them. A cohort of COPD patients with AHRF who survived after treatment with NIV in a respiratory high dependency unit was prospectively followed from July 2001 to October 2002. The times to readmission, first recurrent AHRF, and death were recorded and analysed against potential risk factors collected during the index admission. One hundred and ten patients (87 men) of mean (SD) age 73.2 (7.6) years survived AHRF after NIV during the study period. One year after discharge 79.9% had been readmitted, 63.3% had another life threatening event, and 49.1% had died. Survivors spent a median of 12% of the subsequent year in hospital. The number of days in hospital in the previous year (p = 0.016) and a low Katz score (p = 0.018) predicted early readmission; home oxygen use (p = 0.002), APACHE II score (p = 0.006), and a lower body mass index (p = 0.041) predicted early recurrent AHRF or death; the MRC dyspnoea score (p<0.001) predicted early death. COPD patients with AHRF who survive following treatment with NIV have a high risk of readmission and life threatening events. Further studies are urgently needed to devise strategies to reduce readmission and life threatening events in this group of patients.

                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
                20 July 2017
                : 12
                : 2121-2128
                [1 ]Department of Anesthesiology, Pain and Palliative Medicine
                [2 ]Department of Health Evidence, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen
                [3 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Amphia Hospital, Breda
                [4 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Slingeland Hospital, Doetinchem
                [5 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Gelre Hospitals, Zutphen
                [6 ]Department of Pulmonary Diseases, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
                Author notes
                Correspondence: RG Duenk, Department of Anesthesiology, Pain and Palliative Medicine, Radboud University Medical Center, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, the Netherlands, Tel +31 24 366 6254, Fax +31 24 361 3585, Email ria.duenk@

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2017 Duenk 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.

                Original Research

                Respiratory medicine

                copd, exacerbation, proactive palliative care, prognosis, mortality


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