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      Clinical and economic burden of dyspnea and other COPD symptoms in a managed care setting

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          The degree to which symptoms such as dyspnea affect patients with COPD is individualized. To address the gap between clinical symptom measures and self-perceived disease burden, we investigated the symptom status of adult patients with COPD and followed with an administrative claims analysis of health care resource utilization and costs.


          This was a hybrid US observational study consisting of a cross-sectional patient survey followed by a retrospective analysis of administrative claims data. The primary COPD symptom measures were the modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) Dyspnea scale and the COPD Assessment Test (CAT).


          A total of 673 patients completed the survey. Of these, 65% reported mMRC grades 0–1 (low symptomatology) and 35% reported mMRC grades 2–4 (high symptomatology); 25% reported CAT score <10 (low symptomatology) and 75% reported CAT score ≥10 (high symptomatology). More patients with high symptomatology (by either measure) had at least one COPD-related inpatient hospitalization, emergency room visit, physician office visit, or other outpatient services, and filled at least one COPD-related prescription medication vs patients with low symptomatology. COPD-related costs were higher for patients with high symptomatology than patients with low symptomatology. In a multivariate analysis, COPD-related costs were also higher in patients reporting severe symptoms.


          Patients with high COPD symptomatology utilized more health care resources and had higher COPD-related health care costs during the 6-month post-survey period than patients with low symptomatology.

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          Most cited references 16

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          Prevalence and underdiagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among patients at risk in primary care.

          People with known risk factors for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are important targets for screening and early intervention. We sought to measure the prevalence of COPD among such individuals visiting a primary care practitioner for any reason. We also evaluated the accuracy of prior diagnosis or nondiagnosis of COPD and identified associated clinical characteristics. We recruited patients from three primary care sites who were 40 years or older and had a smoking history of at least 20 pack-years. Participants were asked about respiratory symptoms and underwent postbronchodilator spirometry. COPD was defined as a ratio of forced expiratory volume in the first second of expiration to forced vital capacity (FEV(1)/FVC) of less than 0.7 and an FEV(1) of less than 80% predicted. Of the 1459 patients who met the study criteria, 1003 (68.7%) completed spirometry testing. Of these, 208 were found to have COPD, for a prevalence of 20.7% (95% confidence interval 18.3%-23.4%). Of the 205 participants with COPD who completed the interview about respiratory symptoms before spirometry, only 67 (32.7%) were aware of their diagnosis before the study. Compared with patients in whom COPD had been correctly diagnosed before the study, those in whom COPD had been over-diagnosed or undiagnosed were similar in terms of age, sex, current smoking status and number of visits to a primary care practitioner because of a respiratory problem. Among adult patients visiting a primary care practitioner, as many as one in five with known risk factors met spirometric criteria for COPD. Underdiagnosis of COPD was frequent, which suggests a need for greater screening of at-risk individuals. Knowledge of the prevalence of COPD will help plan strategies for disease management.
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            The Duke Health Profile. A 17-item measure of health and dysfunction.

            The Duke Health Profile (DUKE) is a 17-item generic self-report instrument containing six health measures (physical, mental, social, general, perceived health, and self-esteem), and four dysfunction measures (anxiety, depression, pain, and disability). Items were derived from the 63-item Duke-UNC Health Profile, based upon face validity and item-remainder correlations. The study population included 683 primary care adult patients. Reliability was supported by Cronbach's alphas (0.55 to 0.78) and test-retest correlations (0.30 to 0.78). Convergent and discriminant validity were demonstrated by score correlations between the DUKE and the Sickness Impact Profile, the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale, and the Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale. Clinical validity was supported by differences between the health scores of patients with clinically different health problems. Patients with painful physical problems had a DUKE physical health mean score of 58.1, while patients with only health maintenance problems had a mean score of 83.9 (scale: 0.0 = poorest health and 100.0 = best health). Patients with mental health problems had a DUKE mental health mean score of 49.2, in contrast to 75.7 for patients with painful physical problems and 79.2 for those with health maintenance. The DUKE is presented as a brief technique for measuring health as an outcome of medical intervention and health promotion.
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              Differences in classification of COPD group using COPD assessment test (CAT) or modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) dyspnea scores: a cross-sectional analyses

              Background The GOLD 2011 document proposed a new classification system for COPD combining symptom assessment by COPD assessment test (CAT) or modified Medical Research Council (mMRC) dyspnea scores, and exacerbation risk. We postulated that classification of COPD would be different by the symptom scale; CAT vs mMRC. Methods Outpatients with COPD were enrolled from January to June in 2012. The patients were categorized into A, B, C, and D according to the GOLD 2011; patients were categorized twice with mMRC and CAT score for symptom assessment, respectively. Additionally, correlations between mMRC scores and each item of CAT scores were analyzed. Results Classification of 257 patients using the CAT score vs mMRC scale was as follows. By using CAT score, 60 (23.3%) patients were assigned to group A, 55 (21.4%) to group B, 21 (8.2%) to group C, and 121 (47.1%) to group D. On the basis of the mMRC scale, 97 (37.7%) patients were assigned to group A, 18 (7.0%) to group B, 62 (24.1%) to group C, and 80 (31.1%) to group D. The kappa of agreement for the GOLD groups classified by CAT and mMRC was 0.510. The mMRC score displayed a wide range of correlation with each CAT item (r = 0.290 for sputum item to r = 0.731 for dyspnea item, p < 0.001). Conclusions The classification of COPD produced by the mMRC or CAT score was not identical. Care should be taken when stratifying COPD patients with one symptom scale versus another according to the GOLD 2011 document.

                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
                04 July 2017
                : 12
                : 1947-1959
                [1 ]HealthCore, Inc., Wilmington, DE
                [2 ]GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Judith J Stephenson, HealthCore, Inc., 123 Justison Street, Suite 200, Wilmington, DE 19801, USA, Tel +1 302 230 2142, Fax +1 302 230 2020, Email jstephenson@
                © 2017 Stephenson 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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