22 September 2020
The prevalence of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in females has increased, changing the concept of COPD as a disease mostly limited to males. In this study, the clinical characteristics of COPD in females were investigated.
The study was based on a multicenter cohort of COPD patients recruited from 54 medical centers in South Korea. Sex-based differences in general characteristics, exposure risk factors, depression scores, results of pulmonary function tests, COPD exacerbation, symptom scores, and radiologic findings were evaluated. Sex-related differences in the annual FEV 1 change over 5 years were analyzed in a linear mixed model.
Of the 2515 patients enrolled in this study, 8.1% were female. Female patients who had a higher BMI and a lower level of education were less likely to be smokers, were more exposed to passive smoking/biomass, and were more depressed compared to males. The rates of bronchiectasis, previous childhood respiratory infection, and asthma were higher in females. Female patients also had more symptoms and a poorer exercise capacity than males, but no significant differences were observed in terms of exacerbations. Radiologic findings revealed that male patients had worse emphysema, and female patients had worse bronchiectasis, as determined based on chest X-ray and computed tomography findings. On pulmonary function tests, female patients had less obstruction and less annual FEV 1 loss over 5 years.