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      Impact of using the new GOLD classification on the distribution of COPD severity in clinical practice

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          The objective of this study was to examine how COPD patients were classified by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) spirometry-based severity system and the distribution of COPD severity using the new GOLD 2011 assessment framework.

          Materials and methods

          This was an observational, retrospective cohort study conducted in a single tertiary center on a prospective database, which aimed to evaluate the prevalence, incidence, severity, and comorbidities of COPD. Inclusion criteria were age ≥40 years and COPD diagnosis according to GOLD 2007 classification. Clinical factors were compared between the categories in GOLD 2007 and 2011 groups by using the χ 2 test for categorical data and the analysis of variance for continuous data.


          In total, 420 COPD patients were included in the analysis. The distribution of patients into GOLD 2007 categories was as follows: 6.4% (n=27) of them were classified into subgroup I, 42.1% (n=177) into subgroup II, 37.9% (n=159) into subgroup III, and 13.6% (n=57) into subgroup IV. The distribution of patients into GOLD 2011 categories was as follows: 16.4% (n=69) of them were classified into subgroup A (low risk and fewer symptoms), 32.1% (n=135) into subgroup B (low risk and more symptoms), 21.6% (n=91) into subgroup C (high risk and fewer symptoms), and 29.7% (n=125) into subgroup D (high risk and more symptoms). After the application of the new GOLD 2011 (modified Medical Research Council [mMRC] system), 22% (n=94) of patients were upgraded to a higher level than their spirometry level, and 16.2% (n=68) of them were downgraded in their severity category, meaning that almost 40% of patients changed their severity assessment category. In total, 22% of patients in stage I were allocated to group B, and 35% of patients in stage IV were allocated to group C. Patients in stage III were the most frequently upgraded to a higher risk group (D), taking into account mMRC and exacerbation history.


          Classifying patients using the new GOLD 2011 criteria reallocated a relevant proportion of patients to a different risk category and identified larger proportions of patients in the mildest and more severe groups compared with GOLD 2007 classification.

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          Most cited references 10

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          The significance of respiratory symptoms and the diagnosis of chronic bronchitis in a working population.

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            Factors that influence disease-specific quality of life or health status in patients with COPD: a review and meta-analysis of Pearson correlations.

            A major goal in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is to ensure that the burden of the disease for patients with COPD is limited and that patients will have the best possible quality of life. To explore all the possible factors that could influence disease-specific quality of life and health status in patients with COPD. A systematic review of the literature and a meta-analysis were performed to explore the factors that could have a positive or negative effect on quality of life and/or health status in patients with COPD. Quality of life and health status are determined by certain factors included gender, disease severity indices, lung function parameters, body mass index, smoking, symptoms, co-morbidity, depression, anxiety, and exacerbations. Factors such as dyspnoea, depression, anxiety and exercise tolerance were found to be more correlated with health status than the widely used spirometric values. Forced expiratory volume in one second had a weak to modest Pearson weighted correlation coefficient which ranged from -0.110 to -0.510 depending on the questionnaire used. The broad range of determining factors suggests that, in order to reach the management goals, health status should be measured in addition to lung function in patients with COPD.
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              Relationship between FEV1 change and patient-reported outcomes in randomised trials of inhaled bronchodilators for stable COPD: a systematic review

              Background Interactions between spirometry and patient-reported outcomes in COPD are not well understood. This systematic review and study-level analysis investigated the relationship between changes in FEV1 and changes in health status with bronchodilator therapy. Methods Six databases (to October 2009) were searched to identify studies with long-acting bronchodilator therapy reporting FEV1 and health status, dyspnoea or exacerbations. Mean and standard deviations of treatment effects were extracted for each arm of each study. Relationships between changes in trough FEV1 and outcomes were assessed using correlations and random-effects regression modelling. The primary outcome was St George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ) total score. Results Thirty-six studies (≥3 months) were included. Twenty-two studies (23,654 patients) with 49 treatment arms each contributing one data point provided SGRQ data. Change in trough FEV1 and change in SGRQ total score were negatively correlated (r = -0.46, p < 0.001); greater increases in FEV1 were associated with greater reductions (improvements) in SGRQ. The correlation strengthened with increasing study duration from 3 to 12 months. Regression modelling indicated that 100 mL increase in FEV1 (change at which patients are more likely to report improvement) was associated with a statistically significant reduction in SGRQ of 2.5 (95% CI 1.9, 3.1), while a clinically relevant SGRQ change (4.0) was associated with 160.6 (95% CI 129.0, 211.6) mL increase in FEV1. The association between change in FEV1 and other patient-reported outcomes was generally weak. Conclusions Our analyses indicate, at a study level, that improvement in mean trough FEV1 is associated with proportional improvements in health status.

                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
                17 January 2018
                : 13
                : 351-356
                Department of Respiratory Medicine, Güemes Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Marcos Hernández, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Güemes Foundation, Francisco Acuña de Figueroa 1240 (C1180AAX), Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tel +54 11 4959 8200, Fax +54 11 4959 8300, Email hzmarcos@
                © 2018 Hernández 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

                exacerbation, incidence, spirometry level, comorbidities, severity


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