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      Predictors of mortality in patients with COPD after 9 years

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          COPD is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the world; however, the most varied amounts of clinical and laboratory characteristics acts in different ways in the mortality among over time. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate the predictors of mortality in patients with COPD after 9 years.

          Patients and methods

          One hundred and thirty-three patients with COPD were assessed at baseline by spirometry, pulse oximetry (SpO 2), body composition, intensity of dyspnea, distance walked in the 6-minute walk test (6MWT), and Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI).


          After 9 years, it was not possible to identify the lifetime of 4 patients who died and of 19 patients who stopped follow-up; thus, 110 patients were included in the analysis of predictors of mortality (67% male, 65±9 years old, and FEV 1: 52.5 [40%–73%]). Male sex, age, SpO 2, Body mass index, airway Obstruction, Dyspnea, and Exercise capacity (BODE) index, and frequency of exacerbations in the first 3 years of follow-up were considered in the model. Patients classified at baseline with BODE class 2 (HR: 2.62, 95% CI: 1.36–5.04; P=0.004), BODE class 3 (HR: 2.54, 95% CI: 1.15–5.61; P=0.02), and BODE class 4 (HR: 15.35, 95% CI: 3.11–75.75; P=0.001) showed increased risk of death compared to those with BODE class 1. The CCI (HR: 1.29, 95% CI: 1.00–1.68; P=0.04) and the number of exacerbations in the first 3 years (HR: 1.32, 95% CI: 1.00–1.76; P=0.04) also showed increased risk of death. By replacing the BODE index for the variables that compose it, those with body mass index ≤21 kg/m 2 showed increased risk of death compared to those with body mass index (BMI)>21 kg/m 2 (HR: 2.70, 95% CI: 1.38–5.25; P=0.003).


          After 9 years, we identified that those with high BODE index, greater CCI, greater frequency of exacerbations in the first 3 years, and BMI ≤21 kg/m 2 showed increased risk of death.

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          Most cited references 34

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          The natural history of chronic airflow obstruction.

          A prospective epidemiological study of the early stages of the development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was performed on London working men. The findings showed that forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) falls gradually over a lifetime, but in most non-smokers and many smokers clinically significant airflow obstruction never develops. In susceptible people, however, smoking causes irreversible obstructive changes. If a susceptible smoker stops smoking he will not recover his lung function, but the average further rates of loss of FEV1 will revert to normal. Therefore, severe or fatal obstructive lung disease could be prevented by screening smokers' lung function in early middle age if those with reduced function could be induced to stop smoking. Infective processes and chronic mucus hypersecretion do not cause chronic airflow obstruction to progress more rapidly. There are thus two largely unrelated disease processes, chronic airflow obstruction and the hypersecretory disorder (including infective processes).
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            Body composition and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

            Survival studies have consistently shown significantly greater mortality rates in underweight and normal-weight patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) than in overweight and obese COPD patients. To compare the contributions of low fat-free mass and low fat mass to mortality, we assessed the association between body composition and mortality in COPD. We studied 412 patients with moderate-to-severe COPD [Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (GOLD) stages II-IV, forced expiratory volume in 1 s of 36 +/- 14% of predicted (range: 19-70%). Body composition was assessed by using single-frequency bioelectrical impedance. Body mass index, fat-free mass index, fat mass index, and skeletal muscle index were calculated and related to recently developed reference values. COPD patients were stratified into defined categories of tissue-depletion pattern. Overall mortality was assessed at the end of follow-up. Semistarvation and muscle atrophy were equally distributed among disease stages, but the highest prevalence of cachexia was seen in GOLD stage IV. Forty-six percent of the patients (n = 189) died during a maximum follow-up of 5 y. Cox regression models, with and without adjustment for disease severity, showed that fat-free mass index (relative risk: 0.90; 95% CI: 0.84, 0.96; P = 0.003) was an independent predictor of survival, but fat mass index was not. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression plots for cachexia and muscle atrophy did not differ significantly. Fat-free mass is an independent predictor of mortality irrespective of fat mass. This study supports the inclusion of body-composition assessment as a systemic marker of disease severity in COPD staging.
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              Interpreting small differences in functional status: the Six Minute Walk test in chronic lung disease patients.

              Functional status measurements are often difficult to interpret because small differences may be statistically significant but not clinically significant. How much does the Six Minute Walk test (6MW) need to differ to signify a noticeable difference in walking ability for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? We studied individuals with stable COPD (n = 112, mean age = 67 yr, mean FEV1 = 975 ml) and estimated the smallest difference in 6MW distances that was associated with a noticeable difference in patients' subjective comparison ratings of their walking ability. We found that the 6MW was significantly correlated with patients' ratings of their walking ability relative to other patients (r = 0.59, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.54 to 0.63). Distances needed to differ by 54 m for the average patient to stop rating themselves as "about the same" and start rating themselves as either "a little bit better" or "a little bit worse" (95% CI: 37 to 71 m). We suggest that differences in functional status can be statistically significant but below the threshold at which patients notice a difference in themselves relative to others; an awareness of the smallest difference in walking distance that is noticeable to patients may help clinicians interpret the effectiveness of symptomatic treatments for COPD.

                Author and article information

                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                International Journal of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
                Dove Medical Press
                17 October 2018
                : 13
                : 3389-3398
                [1 ]Department of Internal Medicine, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Medical School, Botucatu, São Paulo Brazil, robsonapp@
                [2 ]University Hospital of São Paulo State University (UNESP), Medical School, Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Robson Prudente, Department of Internal Medicine, São Paulo State University (UNESP), Medical School, Botucatu, Av. Prof Mário Rubens Guimarães Montenegro, s/n, UNESP – Campus de Botucatu, 18618-687 Botucatu, São Paulo, Brazil, Tel +55 14 3811 6033, Email robsonapp@
                © 2018 Prudente 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

                copd, disease severity index, mortality


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