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      The clinical features of the overlap between COPD and asthma

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          The coexistence of COPD and asthma is widely recognized but has not been well described. This study characterizes clinical features, spirometry, and chest CT scans of smoking subjects with both COPD and asthma.


          We performed a cross-sectional study comparing subjects with COPD and asthma to subjects with COPD alone in the COPDGene Study.


          119 (13%) of 915 subjects with COPD reported a history of physician-diagnosed asthma. These subjects were younger (61.3 vs 64.7 years old, p = 0.0001) with lower lifetime smoking intensity (43.7 vs 55.1 pack years, p = 0.0001). More African-Americans reported a history of asthma (33.6% vs 15.6%, p < 0.0001). Subjects with COPD and asthma demonstrated worse disease-related quality of life, were more likely to have had a severe COPD exacerbation in the past year, and were more likely to experience frequent exacerbations (OR 3.55 [2.19, 5.75], p < 0.0001). Subjects with COPD and asthma demonstrated greater gas-trapping on chest CT. There were no differences in spirometry or CT measurements of emphysema or airway wall thickness.


          Subjects with COPD and asthma represent a relevant clinical population, with worse health-related quality of life. They experience more frequent and severe respiratory exacerbations despite younger age and reduced lifetime smoking history.

          Trial registration

          ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT00608764

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          Most cited references 17

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          Trends in the leading causes of death in the United States, 1970-2002.

          The decrease in overall death rates in the United States may mask changes in death rates from specific conditions. To examine temporal trends in the age-standardized death rates and in the number of deaths from the 6 leading causes of death in the United States. Analyses of vital statistics data on mortality in the United States from 1970 to 2002. The age-standardized death rate and number of deaths (coded as underlying cause) from each of the 6 leading causes of death: heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, accidents (ie, related to transportation [motor vehicle, other land vehicles, and water, air, and space] and not related to transportation [falls, fire, and accidental posioning]), and diabetes mellitus. The age-standardized death rate (per 100,000 per year) from all causes combined decreased from 1242 in 1970 to 845 in 2002. The largest percentage decreases were in death rates from stroke (63%), heart disease (52%), and accidents (41%). The largest absolute decreases in death rates were from heart disease (262 deaths per 100,000), stroke (96 deaths per 100,000), and accidents (26 deaths per 100,000).The death rate from all types of cancer combined increased between 1970 and 1990 and then decreased through 2002, yielding a net decline of 2.7%. In contrast, death rates doubled from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease over the entire time interval and increased by 45% for diabetes since 1987. Despite decreases in age-standardized death rates from 4 of the 6 leading causes of death, the absolute number of deaths from these conditions continues to increase, although these deaths occur at older ages. The absolute number of deaths and age at death continue to increase in the United States. These temporal trends have major implications for health care and health care costs in an aging population.
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            A 15-year follow-up study of ventilatory function in adults with asthma.

            Although the prevalence of asthma and morbidity related to asthma are increasing, little is known about the natural history of lung function in adults with this disease. We used data from a longitudinal epidemiologic study of the general population in a Danish city, the Copenhagen City Heart Study, to analyze changes over time in the forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) in adults with self-reported asthma and adults without asthma. The study was conducted between 1976 and 1994; for each patient, three measurements of lung function were obtained over a 15-year period. The final data set consisted of measurements from 17,506 subjects (8136 men and 9370 women), of whom 1095 had asthma. Among subjects who participated in all three evaluations, the unadjusted decline in FEV1 among subjects with asthma was 38 ml per year, as compared with 22 ml per year in those without asthma. The decline in FEV1 normalized for height (FEV1 divided by the square of the height in meters) was greater among the subjects with asthma than among those without the disease (P<0.001). Among both men and women, and among both smokers and nonsmokers, subjects with asthma had greater declines in FEV1 over time than those without asthma (P<0.001). At the age of 60 years, a 175-cm-tall nonsmoking man without asthma had an average FEV1 of 3.05 liters, as compared with 1.99 liters for a man of similar age and height who smoked and had asthma. In a sample of the general population, people who identified themselves as having asthma had substantially greater declines in FEV1 over time than those who did not.
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              Airflow limitation and airway dimensions in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

              Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is characterized by airflow limitation caused by emphysema and/or airway narrowing. Computed tomography has been widely used to assess emphysema severity, but less attention has been paid to the assessment of airway disease using computed tomography. To obtain longitudinal images and accurately analyze short axis images of airways with an inner diameter>or=2 mm located anywhere in the lung with new software for measuring airway dimensions using curved multiplanar reconstruction. In 52 patients with clinically stable COPD (stage I, 14; stage II, 22; stage III, 14; stage IV, 2), we used the software to analyze the relationship of the airflow limitation index (FEV1, % predicted) with the airway dimensions from the third to the sixth generations of the apical bronchus (B1) of the right upper lobe and the anterior basal bronchus (B8) of the right lower lobe. Airway luminal area (Ai) and wall area percent (WA%) were significantly correlated with FEV1 (% predicted). More importantly, the correlation coefficients (r) improved as the airways became smaller in size from the third (segmental) to sixth generations in both bronchi (Ai: r=0.26, 0.37, 0.58, and 0.64 for B1; r=0.60, 0.65, 0.63, and 0.73 for B8). We are the first to use three-dimensional computed tomography to demonstrate that airflow limitation in COPD is more closely related to the dimensions of the distal (small) airways than proximal (large) airways.

                Author and article information

                Respir Res
                Respiratory Research
                BioMed Central
                27 September 2011
                : 12
                : 1
                : 127
                [1 ]Channing Laboratory, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
                [2 ]Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
                [3 ]Department of Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
                [4 ]Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA
                [5 ]Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, National Jewish Health, Denver, CO, USA
                Copyright ©2011 Hardin et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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