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      Unique Mortality Profile in Japanese Patients with COPD: An Analysis from the Hokkaido COPD Cohort Study

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          Causes of death may be unique and different in Japanese patients with COPD because they are generally older, thinner, experience fewer exacerbations, and live longer than those in other countries. We investigated the detailed mortality profile in the Hokkaido COPD cohort study, which completed a 10-year follow-up with a very low dropout rate.

          Patients and Methods

          We prospectively examined the 10-year natural history in 279 Japanese patients with COPD (GOLD 1, 26%; GOLD 2, 45%; GOLD 3, 24%; and GOLD 4, 5%). The majority of patients were male, and the average age at baseline was 69 years old. About 95% of all patients had accurate mortality data. The risk factors for mortality were also analyzed.


          During the 10 years, 112 patients (40%) died. Their median survival time was 6.1 years (interquartile range: 4.7–7.9 years), and age at death was 79 ± 6 years old (mean ± SD). Respiratory diseases, including pneumonia, were the leading causes of death in 45 (40%), followed by lung cancer in 24 (21%), other cancers in 18 (16%), and cardiovascular diseases in 12 (11%). In particular, lung cancer-related death was equally distributed across all COPD stages, with a higher proportion of lung cancer in the relatively younger generation (<64 years old). Older age at baseline, lower BMI, and severer emphysema were significant risk factors for all-cause mortality.


          The unique mortality profile observed in this study should be considered when designing strategies for the management of patients with COPD in any geographic region.

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          Most cited references 23

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          The effects of a smoking cessation intervention on 14.5-year mortality: a randomized clinical trial.

          Randomized clinical trials have not yet demonstrated the mortality benefit of smoking cessation. To assess the long-term effect on mortality of a randomly applied smoking cessation program. The Lung Health Study was a randomized clinical trial of smoking cessation. Special intervention participants received the smoking intervention program and were compared with usual care participants. Vital status was followed up to 14.5 years. 10 clinical centers in the United States and Canada. 5887 middle-aged volunteers with asymptomatic airway obstruction. All-cause mortality and mortality due to cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, and other respiratory disease. The intervention was a 10-week smoking cessation program that included a strong physician message and 12 group sessions using behavior modification and nicotine gum, plus either ipratropium or a placebo inhaler. At 5 years, 21.7% of special intervention participants had stopped smoking since study entry compared with 5.4% of usual care participants. After up to 14.5 years of follow-up, 731 patients died: 33% of lung cancer, 22% of cardiovascular disease, 7.8% of respiratory disease other than cancer, and 2.3% of unknown causes. All-cause mortality was significantly lower in the special intervention group than in the usual care group (8.83 per 1000 person-years vs. 10.38 per 1000 person-years; P = 0.03). The hazard ratio for mortality in the usual care group compared with the special intervention group was 1.18 (95% CI, 1.02 to 1.37). Differences in death rates for both lung cancer and cardiovascular disease were greater when death rates were analyzed by smoking habit. Results apply only to individuals with airway obstruction. Smoking cessation intervention programs can have a substantial effect on subsequent mortality, even when successful in a minority of participants.
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            Tiotropium Respimat inhaler and the risk of death in COPD.

            Tiotropium delivered at a dose of 5 μg with the Respimat inhaler showed efficacy similar to that of 18 μg of tiotropium delivered with the HandiHaler inhalation device in placebo-controlled trials involving patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Although tiotropium HandiHaler was associated with reduced mortality, as compared with placebo, more deaths were reported with tiotropium Respimat than with placebo.
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              Annual change in pulmonary function and clinical phenotype in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

              Although the rate of annual decline in FEV1 is one of the most important outcome measures in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), little is known about intersubject variability based on clinical phenotypes. To examine the intersubject variability in a 5-year observational cohort study, particularly focusing on emphysema severity. A total of 279 eligible patients with COPD (stages I-IV: 26, 45, 24, and 5%) participated. We conducted a detailed assessment of pulmonary function and computed tomography (CT) at baseline, and performed spirometry every 6 months before and after inhalation of bronchodilator. Smoking status, exacerbation, and pharmacotherapy were carefully monitored. Emphysema severity was evaluated by CT and annual measurements of carbon monoxide transfer coefficient. Using mixed effects model analysis, the annual decline in post-bronchodilator FEV1 was -32±24 (SD) ml/yr (n=261). We classified the subjects of less than the 25th percentile as Rapid decliners, the 25th to 75th percentile as Slow decliners, and greater than the 75th percentile as Sustainers (-63±2, -31±1, and -2±1 [SE] ml/yr). Emphysema severity, but not %FEV1, showed significant differences among the three groups. Multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the Rapid decliners were independently associated with emphysema severity assessed either by CT or carbon monoxide transfer coefficient. The Sustainers displayed less emphysema and higher levels of circulating eosinophils. Emphysema severity is independently associated with a rapid annual decline in FEV1 in COPD. Sustainers and Rapid decliners warrant specific attention in clinical practice.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                04 September 2020
                : 15
                : 2081-2090
                [1 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University , Sapporo, Japan
                [2 ]Hokkaido Medical Research Institute for Respiratory Diseases , Sapporo, Japan
                [3 ]Center for Respiratory Diseases, JCHO Hokkaido Hospital , Sapporo, Japan
                [4 ]Department of Internal Medicine, KKR Sapporo Medical Center , Sapporo, Japan
                [5 ]Department of Internal Medicine, Hokkaido Chuo Rosai Hospital , Iwamizawa, Japan
                [6 ]Department of Respiratory Medicine, Otaru Kyokai Hospital , Otaru, Japan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Masaharu Nishimura Department of Respiratory Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University , Sapporo, JapanTel +81 11 706 5911Fax +81 11 706 7899 Email

                These authors contributed equally to this work

                © 2020 Makita 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. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms (

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 9, References: 29, Pages: 10
                Original Research


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