Social distancing and restriction measures during the COVID-19 epidemic may have impacts on medication availability and healthcare utilization for COPD patients, and thereby affect standard disease management. We aimed to investigate the change of respiratory symptoms, pharmacological treatment and healthcare utilization of COPD patients during the epidemic in Beijing, China.
We conducted a single-center, cross-sectional survey performed at Peking University Third Hospital and recruited patients with COPD who were interviewed by phone call. Clinical data, including respiratory symptoms, pharmacological treatment, management and healthcare access before and during the COVID-19 epidemic from January 25 to April 25, 2020, were collected.
A total of 153 patients were enrolled for analysis. Before the epidemic, 81.7% (125/153) had long-term maintenance medication and ICS/LABA (60.8%) and LAMA (57.5%) were most commonly used. During the epidemic, 75.2% (115/153) maintained their pharmacological treatment and 6.5% (10/153) had to reduce or stop taking medications, with a slight decrease of patients taking ICS/LABA (53.6%) and LAMA (56.9%). Most of the patients [76.5% (117/153)] had a low symptom burden, with a CAT score <10 during the epidemic. Of 153 patients, 45 (29.4%) patients reported worsening of respiratory symptoms but only 15.6% (7/45) sought medical care in hospitals, while the remaining expressed concerns about cross-infection in the hospital (55.5%, 25/45) or had mild symptoms which were managed by themselves (28.8%, 13/45).
During the COVID-19 epidemic in Beijing, most of our COPD patients maintained their long-term pharmacological treatment and had mild-to-moderate symptoms. Approximately, 30.0% of the patients experienced worsening of respiratory symptoms, but most of them did not seek medical care in the hospital due to concerns about cross-infection.